The ‘how to’ of self-disruption
So how do you set up your group of disruptors? There are many models. Every company will need to approach it differently, depending on its risk appetite for risk, leadership priorities and culture. But with a strong vision from the top, and a willingness to embrace the upside of disruption, even the biggest monoliths can turn themselves around.
There are three models that seem to be gaining traction in the market.
1. Incubate on the inside
Many companies are setting up their own corporate innovation lab, either with a distinct group of employees who work on innovation full-time or a set of internal events such as hackathons or "codefests," to encourage collaboration and innovation. The point is to liberate unconventional thinkers from their day jobs.
2. Bring in the outside
Some companies find bringing in innovators and experts from the outside faster and cheaper than developing the expertise themselves. Examples of this include advisory boards with diverse leaders, alliances with third parties, or direct collaborations with start-ups or entrepreneurs.
Health care is an example of a sector embracing alliances: in one study, over half the health care organizations surveyed were in digital partnerships and found them an effective way to strengthen their mobile, data, cloud computing and other capabilities. Other companies are setting up advisory boards to bring in the expertise in innovation or other skills they lack.
A number of organizations are getting great results from bringing together their whole ecosystem to develop, challenge, nurture and test ideas. By involving innovators, academics, researchers, students, customers and entrepreneurs, development cycles can be radically reduced and new products and services can be piloted before millions are invested.
Acting like an entrepreneur
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or a company made up of five people working out of a basement to be a disruptor. Big companies can be disruptors too. It’s not easy, and strong leadership from the top is essential, along with cultural change that embraces curiosity, experimentation and ability. Leading businesses are proving this can be done.
As you think about the future, don’t compare your company with the rest of your sector — disruption has made that irrelevant. Don’t compare yourself with existing businesses — think bigger. Think about what is possible because of disruption.
And start by disrupting yourself.