Some of the most successful examples of disruptive innovation involve companies that identified unmet and, in some cases, unimagined customer needs. Uber’s founders recognized that people needed an easier, more reliable and cost-effective way to find rides. There were roughly 50 MP3 players in the U.S. market before Apple made it easier for consumers to access a music library with the launch of the iPod in 2001 and the iTunes Music Store in 2003.
In other cases, the genesis for disruption was borne out of necessity. When Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had trouble paying the rent on their San Francisco apartment, they decided to create a website to rent it out.
But before a company can execute on disruptive innovation, senior management first must identify a concept that can create a new market or drive a new business model. The CIO can play a central role in enabling the enterprise to capture ideas from a variety of sources that can lead to disruptive innovation and competitive advantage.
A good starting point is ensuring that there are multiple ways for the enterprise to gather and analyze customer insights from the different touchpoints that customers use. According to Strategy&’s 2015 Global Innovation 1000 study conducted by PwC’s strategy consulting business, being close to customers (68%) is cited as one of the top factors when determining where a company should conduct research and development.
Traditional customer feedback mechanisms such as speech and text-based voice of the customer tools can be complemented by other instruments including online forums, social media analytics, customer comments captured and analyzed during contact center interactions, etc.
Companies also need effective ways to capture innovative ideas from front-line employees who are close to customer and industry shifts. Encouraging and incentivizing employees at all levels of the enterprise to share their ideas through a variety of outlets can strengthen enterprise ideation and the range of perspectives that are generated.
Thanks to their distinctive view of the enterprise and how different business units and organizational functions intersect, CIOs are uniquely positioned to recommend and support the channels that are needed to fuel employee ideation efforts. CIOs can also weigh in with their suggestions on how to best capture employee ideas along with the silos or bureaucracy that can stifle employee communications and how to break those down.
Industry competitors can also be a valuable source for disruptive ideas. Data visualization and analytics tools can help company leaders to capture information regarding a competitor’s R&D efforts and other opportunities that can be identified and acted on.
“Disruption is turning something on its head and rethinking what the opportunity actually is,” said Vishwa Hassan, Director, Business Insights/Analytics and Enterprise Applications at Intel Corporation in an HMG Strategy video. “We so often get locked into a certain way of doing things and the opportunity now is to think outside the box and ask, ‘How can this be done?’.”
- The CIO can play a central role in enabling the enterprise to capture ideas from a variety of sources that can fuel disruptive innovation and obtain competitive advantage.
- Thanks to their distinctive view of the enterprise and how different business units and organizational functions intersect, CIOs are uniquely positioned to recommend and support the infrastructure and processes that are needed to fuel employee ideation efforts.
- CIOs can also disseminate data visualization and analytics tools that can help company leaders to capture information regarding a competitor’s R&D efforts and other opportunities that can be identified and acted on.