In the current business climate, if your organization isn’t proactively driving disruption, it’s reacting to it. Driving disruptive innovation requires a passion and a willingness to discard old business practices and a ‘this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-things’ approach to getting things done.
In order to succeed at disruptive innovation, companies need to be unshackled from outdated approaches, enabling the business to act on opportunities to serve customers in new ways and achieve competitive advantage.
But for senior management and employees at many established companies, it can be tough to break free from conventional methods. In many cases, fear is the greatest obstruction. Fear of the unknown. Fear of risk. Fear of failure.
Given the breakneck pace of change in business, the C-suite’s greatest fears should be focused on being uprooted by a startup. Or being outmaneuvered by a long-time rival that comes up with a game-changing move that, in hindsight, should have been clearly evident.
So what role can the CIO play as a change agent to enable the enterprise to shift from a culture of being disrupted to becoming an unabashed disruptor? One way is by making it abundantly clear to senior leadership that the mantle of disruptive innovator doesn’t hang exclusively on the shoulders of brazen new companies such as Uber, Airbnb, or Spotify.
The CIO can share a story about a time-honored business that identified and successfully acted on an opportunity to drive disruption – even one that falls outside of the company’s industry.
For instance, Samsung set up a small consumer-focused team in London to come up with ideas for new products for the European market. As part of its efforts, the team needed to convince senior management in South Korea to invest in these projects. In some cases, this included deviating from the company’s product strategies within certain product categories.
But the initiative has paid dividends. Within four years, products that were spun out of the initiative were generating roughly $500 million in profits.
Changing a mindset is tough. There are assumptions we’ve all developed that lead us to the behaviors and the choices we make. But if senior management is willing and passionate about targeting market opportunities where competitors are complacent, then this demonstrates a readiness to take calculated risks.
“Disruption is one of the things that everyone should focus more on, because disruption really means radical change,” says Bryson Koehler, EVP & CITO at The Weather Company in an HMG Strategy video. “Disruption means that you’ve completely rethought the way of doing something. A lot of times we get very comfortable in our ways of working and we don’t want to rock the boat and we don’t want to try new things. But either disrupt or be disrupted.”
- If your organization isn’t proactively driving disruption, it’s reacting to it.
- In order to succeed at disruptive innovation, companies need to be unshackled from outdated approaches, enabling the business to act on opportunities to serve customers in new ways.
- The CIO can begin to trigger a cultural mind shift by sharing success stories of traditional companies that have successfully driven disruption, including the challenges they had to overcome.