Disruptive Innovation Is Not For Everyone

Every conversation I have with clients always ends up with their need for disruptive innovation.

It has captured our imagination (and our wallets).  It’s that shiny, glittering item that everyone wants.  Every company claims to be disruptive, to have disruptive innovation throughout their pipelines.  But let’s be honest, a new flavor isn’t disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovation is hard work, expensive and very risky.  So before they go on the “disruptive innovation” path, I remind clients these key points:

Disruptive innovation takes time.

Finding new ways to preserve food (for example) without impacting its nutritional content or developing a truly recyclable pouch that can withstand high cooking temperatures takes hours of R&D, months of experimenting internally and externally with partners, and more time to implement.

Do you have the patience for it?


Disruptive innovation takes money.

Invariably, this type of innovation needs to be created, either from scratch or by building off something that exists but doesn’t quite meet your disruptive needs.  Either way, it will take money to partner with expert organizations to make it happen or capital to build it internally.

How much are you willing to spend to get it?


Disruptive innovation is risky.  Like, really risky.


Every step in developing disruptive innovation is fraught with risks that things will go wrong which will require more time and more money to work through it.  It’s trial and error over a long period of time.  You are trying to create something that’s never been done before.

Are you ready for these risks?


Disruptive innovation is not what consumers want.  Wait, what?

Consumers have needs and pain points.  Find out what they are and how to solve them.  That’s the way to stay in the game.  That’s the way to stay ahead of your competition.  That’s how your competition is disrupting you.


Disruptive innovation is hard work.  High risks, high rewards.  And you have to be ready for it.  There is plenty of other innovation that you can pursue that will be easier and still profitable within an acceptable timeframe.  I will discuss those in another blog orhit me up with questions if you can’t wait!