By Alan Graner
Disruptive innovation is a paradigm shift you don’t see coming until it’s too late.
If you make buggy whips, how do you recognize the destructive power of the automobile if you’ve never heard of one?
In an interview given to cio.com http://www.cio.com/article/30099/Interview_Clayton_Christensen_on_Disruption, Dr. Clayton Christensen explained how to recognize these innovations. Here are two examples.
Determine whether the technology innovation is a threat or a growth opportunity.
If you manufacture widgets and suddenly you’re confronted with a product that makes widgets obsolete, what’s your first reaction? Exactly: Destroy it!
Thanks to our primitive fight-or-flight reaction, we react on a more basic level to threats than we do for opportunities. This almost guarantees a company will fight innovation rather than embrace it.
Imagine what railroads would be today if they hadn’t fought airplanes as a competitive technology and, instead, embraced them as an opportunity to expand their transportation business.
Disruptive technologies allow a larger population of less skilled people to accomplish what previously only experts could do.
It once took dedicated scribes working long periods of time to meticulously copy documents for publication. These documents were so rare, few could afford them, so literacy wasn’t very important. As a result, a vast storehouse of knowledge was unavailable to the public, making it easier for governments, companies and individuals to act in secret.
With the printing press came an explosion of books, pamphlets and newspapers that were so cheap, almost anybody could access them. Literacy now became a key survival tool, and schools sprang up to teach the skill. Knowledge became democratized, and people were themselves able to interpret philosophers, the Bible and science, reducing the power of authorities. In many areas of life secrecy was replaced with transparency.
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a public relations campaign that makes you stick out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.