How to Sustain Disruptive Innovation?

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Disruptive Innovation > Best Practices > How to Sustain Disruptive Innovation?

How to Sustain Disruptive Innovation?
Ade Tola, Management Consultant, Member
After gaining entry into some (new) market segment through disruptive innovation, how do you SUSTAIN your position and growth...
Does that require other cycles of disruptive innovation, or will regular incremental innovation do?

Cycles of Disruptive Innovation
Sabareeshan C.K., Director, India, Member
I guess the only way to sustain a disruptive innovation would be to follow up with CYCLES of disruption innovation. Incremental improvement may not be adequate as the COMPETITION would probably become disruptively innovative as well.

It Depends on the Innovation and the Competition
Martin Lekoski
The person who invented the wheel is long forgotten, and yet his/her innovation has changed many markets.
Sustaining a position is not that hard if you have the PROPER MARKETING to remind people that you came with the innovation first.
But then it all depends on the innovation and the participants in the market. If the innovation is too radical, other participants will either adapt to the change and come up with their own solutions, or they will simply leave the market.

Sustaining Disruptive Innovation Through Business Model Innovation
Errol Francke, Management Consultant, South Africa, Member
In my view disruptive innovation (ironically, like any other innovation) also needs to be supported with an appropriate business model. This often calls for innovation within the (existing) BUSINESS MODEL.
Ultimately the success of the disruptive innovation need not necessarily lie in the technical aspects of the innovation, but in the corresponding business model innovation.

Disruption is Unsustainable
Willemsen, Manager, Zambia, Member
Disruption is by definition unsustainable. It changes the market, so that it must find a new equilibrium. Once that is reached, the disruption is over and there is a new status quo.
If you have been able to gain market leadership in the chaotic times of disruption you will have a strategic advantage that you can exploit as long as the status quo lasts.
All you have to do is MAINTAIN YOUR POSITION BY INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS. You can use the returns to invest in other things, such as introducing disruptive technologies in neighboring markets.

Sustaining a Disruptive Technology & Innovation [DTI]
Len Pretorius, Project Manager, South Africa, Member
By definition a DTI is disruptive for as long as it maintains being disruptive to existing, or new players in the market segment, or creates a new market of course.
The Apple product line is such innovation, which has re-invented itself many times over, always being better, or one step ahead of its competitors. But all such DTI's follow the DTI curve to maturity and decay. It can only be sustained as long as ongoing innovation drives it.

Re-Disruption Recurs Seldom Quickly Within a Given Industry
Rick Mueller, Professor, United States, SIG Leader
Albert Willemsen's answer is closest to being correct (and quite insightful actually). One is seldom alone in the process of opening up a new market (or expansion of an existing market to currently unserved consumers) made possible through the availability of Disruptive Technologies.
As a result, one becomes ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ENMESHED IN COMPETITION with fellow entrants, against which product and process improvement strategies become the standard response. Although it can happen (as it did in disk drives and digital imaging), (re-)Disruption recurs seldom quickly within a given industry, but engaging in that would not be defined as "maintaining one's position" as stated in the question.

No Sustained Position and Growth
Sandy Musallam, Editor, United States, Member
In my opinion, a sustainable position and growth are temporary concepts in current volatile global market. The only ways to build on the temporary gains due to disruptive innovation, is to keep reinventing yourself, creating strong marketing initiatives, and offering excellent service and good luck.

How to Sustain Disruptive Innovation
Miguel Fernandez, Business Consultant, Paraguay, Member
I agree with Sandy... a combination of motivation and luck is required... The motivation is associated with a competitive environment and can be developed by viewing opportunities in the middle of a crisis and future challenges amid growing seasons.

Sustained Disruptive Innovation by Kaizen
Langlois, CEO, France, Member
Kaizen (or incremental innovation) is the loam of disruptive innovation. It creates a stimulating atmosphere. For some people, after three or four simple ideas are welcomed, it generates a gold nugget. I have seen that many times.

Sustained Disruption Requires Willingness to Cannibalize
werkman, Manager, United States, Member
The only way to sustain a disruptive cycle is to be willing to cannibalize your own business model. That goes against human nature, which makes it harder. The only example of a sustained disruptive cycle I can think of is what lemmings do.
Apple, oft mentioned exemplar, does it sometimes, too, ("innovating" to an incompatible operating system, for example), and is willing to lose customers in the process. It's why they are the biggest company, but not the one with the most market share.

Sustaining what is no Longer Novel or Continually and Fundamentally Surprise the Market?
Mach Yam, Singapore, Member
Once the market and competition have reacted and responded to the disruptive innovation, is it still disruptive?
So is it a matter of sustaining what is no longer novel or is the question about how to continually and fundamentally surprise the market?
If I tackle the latter, it would mean an appropriate company culture that nurtures experimentation and innovation.

Build your Own Disruptor
Paul Hug, Student (MBA), Switzerland, Member
I think, the only way that works is to found a new organization that competes the old business using a disruptive innovation.
It needs to be a stand-alone-solution (maybe with the money from the older business) to be aware of political uncorrectness of people in the old organisation.
Editor: compare also the Forget Borrow Learn framework by Govindarajan and Trimble for more on this.

Innovation is not Always Disruptive But Disruption Requires Innovation
Bennett Alexander, Professor, Member
Evolution of technologies and related practices are expected within the Technology Space (TS).
- From an INVENTOR perspective: Occasionally an opportunity for introducing novelty to the TS comes about as a consequence of inspired creative endeavor. I refer to this as Creative Stimulus Innovation (CSI).
- From an INDUSTRY perspective: Disruption of the TS occurs when unexpected game changing innovations enter the TS and create tensions that demand redress. Innovation of this nature I refer to as Disruptive Innovation (DI).
In order to meet this condition of disruption brought about by CSI requires innovation for sustainability of an enterprise at risk. This I refer to as Constructed Response Innovation (CRI).
In order to muster the necessary CRI to respond to the disruption will require re-invention of the enterprise through Business Model Innovation (BMI).

Disruptive Innovation Might Be Sustainable
Michael Chin, Business Consultant, Singapore, Member
To sustain it, you need to a have pipeline of disruptive ideas. This is where the challenge lies - finding and maintaining that pipeline.
The #1 challenge to creating a disruptive innovation pipeline is to find DISRUPTIVE MINDED PEOPLE.
Then a business model is needed if there is a market for it.

Disruptive Innovation Might not Be Sustainable
Bennett Alexander, Professor, Member
If the industry as a whole is unable to respond to the DI, this could lead to a condition of enterprise monopoly in favour of the inventor which could place the industry as a whole at risk!
Therefore, in the interest of sectorial survival and a balanced economy, the industry requires support to rationalise its functioning around the DI.
This necessitates intervention and development agency (DA) to be brought to bear on the environment.

Sustain New Innovations by Implementing a 'Do Different Culture'
Brilman, HR Consultant, Netherlands, Member
A sustained position and growth is mostly connected to COLLECTIVE BEHAVIORS that form the CULTURE where it should be sustained.
So the leverage is in implementing 'do different behavior (habits!)'. And in breaking old habits. Every implementation (structure, systems, strategy, skills) will not sustain when it fails into a matras of old habits of execution.

Just Hold your Postion Till Next Cycle of Disruption Kills You
Suman Bhattacharya, Management Consultant, India, Member
If you gain entry in a new market through DI, I guess that the best approach would be to sustain and strengthen your position THROUGH INCREMENTAL INNOVATIONS (product or business model) and exploit the competitive advantage to the maximum extent till the next wave of disruption hits you.
Look at Apple. The iPhone brought a disruption in the mobile industry and Apple is now just sustaining its position through series of incremental innovations (bigger sized screen etc., etc.). This strategy will work fine until another company brings some disruption, hit the incumbent and forces it to catch up with the cycle.

Sustain Growth After Disruptive Innovation
pierre bernard
From the history of innovation in the hard drive industry, I identify 3 facts:
1. A successful disruptive innovation is often a relatively straightforward technology packaged for an entirely new market.
2. The purpose of the disruptive technology is always to be able to sustain the continual performance improvements requested by the market.
3. The disruptive innovation organisation is almost all the time a new player in the disrupted market.
So I would propose that in order to sustain growth in the new market, the organisation must DEVELOP A PERFORMANCE-ABLE TECHNOLOGY as they will normally not be able to perform another disruption in this market.

Disruptive Innovation Over a Longer Time Frame
Larry Fisher, CEO, Member
In my opinion, disruptive innovations may be more broadly received and with greater profitability when the customer's adoption is not disruptive. To further optimize a disruptive innovation with a non-disruptive adoption is to LOCATE THE DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION CLOSER TO THE ACTUAL FOUNDATION of the organization or business model, etc.
Further strength may be achieved when the disruptive innovation is enhancing the customer's best interests and the disruption can also be PROTECTED AS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. The closer to the foundation the better of course. In software innovation; when it is even near being foundation based or not it may be possible to build and protect the disruptive innovation by SOFTWARE STACKED PLATFORMS to elevate the innovations efficiency and profitability over a longer time frame for greater advantages and leadership. In my opinion, this process enhances the techniques and possibilities to see another disruptive innovation down the road.

Customer Service and Continuous Innovation
Rahamathulla Mohamed Rawther, HR Consultant, United Arab Emirates, Member
To sustain the initial impact, management must ensure:
1. CUSTOMER SERVICE and feedback are fully respected and responded
2. If the organization isn portrayed as an INNOVATOR, continuity on the same line must be maintained and the competitors must be beat time and time again.

Innovation Strategy of the Business
Purna Chandra, Business Consultant, India, Member
A business comes into existence with a vision and can survive and grow if its product & service offerings are relevant, meet or exceed customer requirements and are in conformity with this vision.
This requires a well crafted strategy. To stay focused and relevant, a firm has to have in place an innovation strategy, catering to its vision and meeting (changing) customer needs.
While a Disruptive Innovation brings in radical changes, to sustain it, the firm has to follow up with its innovation strategy by use of "Three Horizons of Growth" (developed by Steve Coley) or a similar framework.
The key point is that there has to be a STRATEGY PROCESS not only to bring incremental changes through the Disruptive Innovation, but to go to the next level in different time horizons.

Measuring Innovation Like HYPE Cycles
ANDRES RAMOS, Professor, Colombia, Member
I suggest to use the dynamics of HYPE CYCLES:
- First the evaluation with the early adoption (at market).
- Then, a peak with inflated expectations (in the time line by customer)
- Followed by disillusionment...
- Ending in a plateau of productivity.

Powerful Leadership is Mandatory to Disruptive Innovation
Denilson, CEO, Brazil, Member
I believe that a POWERFUL LEADER is mandatory to maintain the risks, costs and energy that are necessary to develop disruptive initiatives.

First Mover Leverage of the Disruptive Innovator
Dr. Luis De La Cruz, Professor, United States, Member
Discontinuous or disruptive innovation provides a level of customer value far exceeding what has been available before, yielding not just an increase in market share for the disrupting organization, but an increase in the consumer market size.
Moreover, when implementing proprietary radical cannibalization as opposed to the gradual cannibalizing from trailing competitors; the disruptive organization eliminates its most successful products and that of trailing competitors, replacing all of them with new technologies.
Thus the disruptive organization is distancing itself with a significant leap in customer value from its competitors that are lacking ready awareness, expertise, and resources to still compete.

From acquiring small-cap firms representing seeds of reinvention to extending disruptive core competencies to adjacent or tangential but unrelated industries or markets; the COMPETITIVE DISPLACEMENT ELEMENT OF SURPRISE adds to the sustainability ratio of the first mover.
GRADUAL INNOVATION is still an effective alternate step through logical product marketing extensions, including a new channeling approach for new markets and the expansion of consumer boundaries.
Within global dimensions, opportunities open for an industry genesis of things new to each world value propositions, in a world of COUNTRIES AT DIFFERENT STAGES of industry, markets, and consumer life cycles to sustain brand position and growth.

There is No Such Thing as Sustained Disruptive Innovation
Alex Cristescu, Strategy Consultant, Member
Hello gents, from all the answers I did read it appears that none of them are tuned up with the true Disruptive Innovation (DI) terminology of Christensen. Perhaps the title of this discussion is a little misleading.
One can see in Christensen's disruptive innovation chart that he distinguishes 3 Innovation Models:
  1. High End Disruptive Innovation
  2. Low End Disruptive Innovation
  3. Sustained Innovation
But there is no such thing as "Sustained Disruptive Innovation".
Disruptive is a big bang in the market. Once broken in, the new market holder is called INCUMBENT. Right from this moment, the incumbent must watch carefully to maintain his newly acquired ownership. His only way to ensure his incumbency is via "sustained innovation".

Remark: sustained innovation is normally referred as Kaizen or Continuous Innovation. Innovation cannot be very often "disruptive". To gain ROI on DI one needs to wait years and years). OTHERS will now "attack" INCUMBENCY by new attempts of DI. However, very few will succeed. DI is not a "democratic innovation" tool.

How to Sustain a Disruptive Innovation?
Majoyeogbe Samson, CEO, Nigeria, Member
It's all about being consistent in understanding the market trend and needs by driving towards achieving the "ultimate" satisfaction to end users at all times.
Using and improving all tenets of strategic marketing would go a long way in leading the market.

Special Interest Group Leader
Rick Mueller

Disruptive Innovation
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