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Disruptive Innovation – Letting Go Between Your Ears

July 30, 2009

I’m fascinated by the personal side of disruptive innovation. Some people
call it thinking “outside of the box”. Some people call it having a
“break-through”. Technically it’s an insight or perspective that
recombines ideas and perceptions in a way that is not a linear
extension of previous thinking. It’s finding new ways to get things
that are easier and more efficient.

Maybe another way to say it is to avoid getting old… in your thinking.
Ever notice how as people get older, they tend to get more rigid in
their thinking, not just their bones? That always freaks me out,
thinking I’m going to do the same. We get less capable of disruptive
innovation. We get “stuck in our ways.”

So let’s get personal, and talk about how you can get better at this,
should you care to. Let’s see, “Would you like to get more and more
predictable (rigid), or be capable of disruptive innovations should you
be presented with a stuck place in life?”

I know, dumb question. Bottom line, it’s an important thing to be
good at. If you can pick it up, people will have more fun around you.
You’ll have more fun in life.

Having the capacity to be disruptively innovative is a resource you
want to keep close at hand, whatever line of work you are in. Given
that, let me walk you through a couple of tips I’ve found to be
helpful to keep the personal side of disruptive innovation alive and well.

First a confession.
One, I sell a software that represents a disruptive
to many of our customer’s organizations. So that keeps it
always up in front of me.

Two, I have some genetic / personality inclination or proclivity to need to
pull the sheets and tell the truth about what’s going on (a blessing and
a curse) – so that keeps me in a process of disruptive innovation as well.
Telling the truth can open up some pretty disruptive innovations very
quickly. Ok, so I pretty much live there regularly.

Wow, I’ve already gotten too wordy, looks like I’m going to need to do
several blogs on this. But here’s the first tip anyone can do to develop
your capacity to innovate disruptively.

It’s deceptively simple and hard all at the same time.

Here it is. Don’t hang onto what you know tightly.

What? I love Proverbs chapter 3. It’s all over the concept of get wise,
keep learning, but don’t lean to hard on what you understand,
what you know.

Hold your “certainty” lightly. That gives you the flexibility:
to not have to be right,
to not have to have it work out the way you planned,
to not have to be right about the market, the boss, the product direction,
to not have to …

Get it, the “have to” keeps us from seeing new options, from being
disruptively innovative with life, with relationships, in our brain
and in our businesses.

Bottom Line:
Disruptive innovation starts between your ears. It starts with
not leaning on what you know or how it’s always been.

Hold the sureness factor about your perceptions lightly, and
you won’t be held by them when you most need to innovate.

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