Mistake 1: Assuming disruptive innovation is only IT. Disruption is occurring in all spheres of operations, and needs to be aligned with the business. Whether it’s the business model disruption of peer to peer lending, the social marketing disruption or the customer-focused disruption of instant underwriting and dynamic pricing, technology is merely an enabler. Don’t hand the innovation reigns over to your IT department thinking they will succeed. Innovation needs to be pursued by your business, not a handful of technology specialists.
Mistake 2: Thinking you can predict what will be disruptive. No one can predict disruptive ideas. If we could, then it would be easy and all current market leaders would stay on top of their markets. However, we are witnessing the largest turnover in the Fortune 500 in its history thanks in large part to disruptive innovation. Since disruption can’t be predicted, companies have to make small calculated bets and experiments to see what pans out. By testing and learning, disruptive ideas can be explored to see what should be further developed.
Mistake 3: Trying to jam big ideas into an existing product development process. This is one I see all the time now that I’m an independent consultant. Companies think they can take a disruptive idea and place it into their existing product development process. But those ideas are frequently counter to the operational expertise and direction of the organization. So the normal business process naturally identifies the disruptive ideas as a threat and kills them. Companies need to provide a protected environment for their disruptive ideas so that they can properly incubate and grow.