By now, all of us familiar with the vast body of innovation literature and commentary have probably had enough with all the talk about disruption. That doesn’t prevent Kim and Mauborgne (of Blue Ocean Strategy fame) from weighing in with their perspective on the topic of disruption.
That other building block is what we call nondisruptive creation, which offers a new way of thinking about what’s possible. It highlights the immense potential for creating new markets where none existed before. This is creation without disruption or destruction. All the demand generated by this kind of innovation is new.
Despite their claims, this really is nothing new. Ever since Christensen published ‘The Innovators Dilemma” in which he put forth the theory of disruption from below, people have been pointing out many other models of innovation and growth that have included the very thing that the authors focus on in this article – the creation of totally new markets that don’t disrupt any incumbent but instead increase the size of the pie by serving new customers with new value (see here and here).
Are companies worried about disruption? Clearly, they are. Do companies want to disrupt? Clearly they do. But this typically is a side effect of the real focus of strategic innovation. Innovative companies are doing exactly what the authors are advocating, understanding potential adopters, finding new value, creating novel offerings and business models and increasing the size of the pie.
It’s good to discuss how to expand the pie and in that respect, things the authors point out have value, But it’s disingenuous to claim that this is a revelatory new insight when companies have been doing this (and others have been writing about it and innovation purveyors have been advocating this) for two decades.