Why Disruptive Innovation is Not a Strategy
In light of our learning about disruptive innovation and reading about companies like Apple who have used it to their advantage, I found an article claiming that disruptive innovation is not a strategy and that companies should stop striving for it. The author, Soren Kaplan, explains how while many companies are striving to create disruptive innovation strategies, the inherent vagueness of the term makes it a lousy strategy. It’s not a linear method or process, and there is no way to capture how to do it.
The idea isn’t new- originally introduced in 1942 as “creative destruction” by economist Joseph Schumpeter, and it has since become an accepted paradigm, until Jill Lapore started to chip away at the idea. She believes that the concept of disruptive innovation “has been used as an argument for blowing up the broken healthcare and education systems, which minimizes the fact that these long standing institutions are complex social services delivered by human beings, not just stale technologies ready to be displaced by the next big thing.”
The author also goes on to explain how even one of the greatest innovators of all time, Steve Jobs, didn’t try to change the industry when he started Apple. He was quoted saying “When we created the iTunes Music Store, we did that because we thought it would be great to be able to buy music electronically, not because we had plans to redefine the music industry.” Kaplan goes in to cite the founders of Google as well, claiming that they too started with a basic vision, not a grand idea of disruptive innovation and changing the world.
Do you think that disruptive innovation is a sound business strategy? Is it something to strive for or is it just something that happens?