Disruptive leadership: Thriving in an era of constant change
with Luke Williams, Professor, New York University Stern School of Business
author of Disrupt
The three biggest barriers to innovation are motivation, mindset and method.
1. [GRAPHIC: Barriers to innovation: Motivation.]
Motivation is all about the right attitude. I don’t care how many tools you’re using or technologies you’re seeing. If you don’t have the attitude required for change none of those tools are going to have an impact.
2. [GRAPHIC: Barriers to innovation: Motivation. Mindset.]
The second thing is mindset. Mindset is being conscious of thinking habits. Traditional thinking habits keep you doing the same thing over and over every day without reflecting on those habits. You have to free yourself from seeing the business the way it is right now to have any chance of seeing what it might become- and that’s all about your mindset.
3. [GRAPHIC: Barriers to innovation: Motivation. Mindset. Methods.]
The third part is the methods you’re using. It’s about introducing a different approach. The approach needed for innovation for growth is the direct opposite of the approach needed to keep the existing business success running. That’s why it’s so difficult to introduce new methods.
The three barriers apply to individuals and organizations.
The biggest barrier that I see for organizations trying to innovate is they’re always trying to innovate around their existing assets, resources, strengths, core competencies and core capabilities. The traditional disrupters, the ones that really do change things up, don’t have the same sort of strengths, resources, assets, core capabilities and core competencies. They’re free to see the future of the industry from a completely different vantage point. You need to free yourself from thinking “These are our assets. We’ve got to find a way to leverage them.”
4. [GRAPHIC: Disruptive thinking.]
How do you actually start to think about unconventional strategy options to counterbalance your traditional strategy options? It’s called disruptive thinking. There are five stages:
1. Disruptive hypothesis- you have to turn that into a disruptive opportunity to actually experiment with it.
2. Disruptive opportunity- once you’re experimenting with the opportunity, it will give you a lot of ideas.
3. Ideas, ideas, ideas- you have to take those ideas and shape them into a solution, because a solution is always practical, feasible and viable.
4. Solution- you have to convince others that you’re expecting to make the change, and that the advantages of such a change are clear.
5. Pitch the disruption- you have to pitch the disruption you’re expecting (and that’s easier said than done).
That is the process.
5. [GRAPHIC: Opportunities for innovation.]
I define ideas as the recipes that you use to rearrange things to create new value and wealth. You can think of those things as your:
• value proposition
• the relationship you have with your clients
• distribution channels
• cost structure
• revenue model
• partners and supplies
All of these things are resources that you can remix in an infinite number of ways. Growth in your organization is going to come from better recipes, not more cooking of the recipes you already have. That’s the critical point.
GRAPHIC: [Tap the tension points.]
Do not think about the problems that you’re facing in the industry at the moment. You’re already paying attention to what’s broken. The richest areas for your future are going to be the seemingly unbroken aspects of what you do in your profession and industry overall— precisely because nobody’s paying attention to these areas.
Find a way to look for what we call the tension points, which are the small, little frustrations people have grown accustomed to, but are not big enough to be problems. That’s where you’re going to find the richest areas for developing future capabilities and future options.