Often we do not understand the real meaning of the actions that we are developing, and this can lead to fatal problems (at least we get “unwanted results” that are often the opposite of what we wanted to achieve).
The problem is basically the inability to understand the essence of the principles applied to our strategies: in this case it is not possible to make the system work as it should. And the system, in fact, ends up ending up producing “unexpected results” (which often lead to a failure of the strategies).
In the specific case of Disruptive innovation strategies, this misunderstanding has led to the failure of most of the actions implemented so far by the players of the market.
This is caused:
1) First of all by the lack of understanding of the fact that Disruptive innovation is a “revolution” of the context in which it operates. And Revolution means “radical change” (from the roots): a radical change of culture, of the mindset used up to that point (change of operating principles, of conception of values, of a design approach, of types of communication, etc.).
This means that the great players of the moment, very well structured (but in a very rigid way) to operate in the current context are not able to adapt to market changes (such as dinosaurs, they do not have the ability to adapt to changing conditions the environment in which they operate).
In other words
2) Dirsuptive innovation involves a fresh start, ie it involves starting something absolutely new (a real new thing).
Disruptive innovation can not come from an evolution of something that operated with the previous model (cultural, market).
For this reason it is a non-sense to expect Disruptive innovation from the great Players of the Market: they are however destined to leave the Market to new emerging players.
It is not an ideological consideration: this is a consideration that derives simply from the analysis of History.
To clarify what the problem is, we can observe a case of Disruptive innovation in the field of government: we know that it is not possible to move from an absolute Monarchy regime to a regime of real Democracy,
a. through the ideation of change by people deeply linked to the absolute Monarchy regime (ie the stakeholders of this regime: even if a “illumination” would bring them to desire change, they would not be able, because of their mindset, to operate in the direction of real change).
b. the change, even if designed by a group of people of profoundly democratic culture, can not be carried out by officials and politicians belonging to the previous phase of the Absolute Monarchy (the latter still lack the ability to operate in a substantially new condition).
3) for these reasons the Disruptive innovation that we are talking about today is mostly a bluff. < see “The bluff of Innovation” in “Manifesto of innovation” >
That is, the major players insist on forcing the Demand to emotional purchases, and then use innovation as a sales argument: thus creating a bubble that is destined to burst.
In addition, the great Firms, to survive the crisis, use the “Disruptive innovation” to get “favors” from institutions (government): as new rules that force the consumer to buy new generations of products (not innovative). And to get financial bonuses of various kinds: financing, tax reduction, etc …
And of course the information channels are brought to adhere to that kind of culture (in order not to lose the support in advertising of the great Firms).
But history goes on following its trends, it does not look at anyone.
What is possible for the big Players
Obviously, it is not certain that all the great players of today’s market should fail in the future.
But they are afflicted by the serious problem of not being able to understand the real need to substantially change their way of thinking.
Trying to see the positive aspect of the issue, from the point of view of the social system this attitude can perhaps be considered a good, since it makes the change less dramatic for society (more gradual).
But, from the point of view of the Players themselves, the more time passes, the less they have the possibility to change.
Substantially the current players have the possibility to innovate, for example, by transferring a part of their production to the sector; or creating spin-offs.
Limits in current interpretations of disruptive innovation
Basically then there is a tendency to develop a convenient culture Disruptive innovation.
This does not happen for a pure bad faith, but because those who produce “Culture” of innovation (both as corporate strategies and as information) do not know at all the issue of radical innovation that is slowly changing the market.
In other words it can be said that those who deal with the issues of Disruptive Innovation are literally not able to understand what they are talking about.
One of the consequences of this situation is that those who today talk about Disruptive Innovation do so by focusing on the negative factors related to it. This happens because, not knowing the matter thoroughly, they are not able to describe the positive aspects of the phenomenon.
Obviously those who do not know the process of restructuring a house, and see the initial stages of the process, will talk about it by describing negative aspects (such as destruction, loss of elements to which you were attached, etc …).
But they will not be able to conceive (and therefore to describe) the positive, “constructive” aspects of the reconstruction phase.
One of the most significant cases of this culture incapable of understanding the essence of things, is the article “The Disruption Machine” (NewYorker, June 23, 2014) by Jill Lepore, in which the author identifies Disruptive innovation with “the rhetoric of disruption – a language of panic, fear, asymmetry, and disorder “; and as “competitive strategy for an age seized by terror.”
The author is engaged in an ideological defense of the status quo of the Market, a legitimate thing in itself. But in this ideological condition, she is not able not only to see the “new things” (highly disruptive) that are being born; but it was not even able to read who invented the definition of Disruptive innovation, Clayton Christensen, who wrote
“In retrospect, I made a poor choice when I used “disruption” to describe the phenomena that transformation so frequently stems from simple, cheap solutions. The word can confuse those who mistake my definition with the dictionary definition of “disruption.” In fact, in 1997, when I was at Intel summarizing my research, my friend Andy Grove said, “If you call it disruption, you will mislead the world.” Unfortunately, The Innovator’s Dilemma was already being printed, so it was too late.
The problem is that many assume that “disruption” and “different” are synonyms. They are not. Disruptions often don’t involve big technological breakthroughs. Rather, they involve mastering the intricate art of the simple solution.” [“a Decade o disruption”, Forbes Oct 26, 2007}