Disrupt…Or Be Disrupted!

In this world of hyper-competitiveness, brands only have two choices – disrupt or be disrupted. The days of sitting back and milking cash cows are certainly gone, but so too are the days of getting by on incremental improvements or relatively safe changes to features and benefits.

Barriers to entry are eroding everywhere and the next disruption to your category or industry will likely come from where you expect it least – especially if it is not coming from you.

Periods of disruptive change caused by emerging technologies, shifting consumer demands, and greater competition represent big opportunities for those who don’t become paralyzed by uncertainty. But how can we create a culture of innovation that puts the odds in our favor?

Soren Kaplan is the best-selling author of “The Invisible Advantage: How to Create a Culture of Innovation” and “Leapfrogging: Harness the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs.” He is also the Founder of InnovationPoint and upBoard. Lucky for us, he is also a speaker at this year’s Brand ManageCamp marketing conference.

Soren has dedicated his career to understanding disruptive innovation and how companies and brands can best position themselves to be successful at it. What it really comes down to is finding solutions that challenge assumptions of what was even thought possible.

To do this, Soren proposes three elements of creating a culture of innovation:

1. Expand Your Focus – Look beyond the sources of information in your comfort zone. Look for connections in non-obvious places. Look for inspiration from seemingly unrelated topics, products, categories, people, geographies, etc… Find the trends and opportunities that nobody else is seeing yet. And, once you have expanded your focus and found areas that can be leveraged to create disruptive innovation, you must then dial it back in to make it relevant and possible.

2. Fall in Love with Problems Not Solutions – Create an environment that rewards the process and the journey more than the short term results. Encourage mistakes and risks and big ideas. Fail quickly and iterate.

3. Disrupt Yourself – I wrote an article a while back entitled “Complacency Kills.” The most telling and devastating result of complacency in the world of brand is when you are disrupted from the outside in – when others see the way the world is changing and challenge the assumptions of what was possible before you do. You cannot allow this to happen. You constantly have to assume someone else is out there working on a way to disrupt your products, your services – and you have to beat them to it. You are going to be disrupted one way or another – it might as well be by you.

Obviously, this is an incredibly meaty topic and each of these points deserve far more attention than a few sentences each. That is why I am so excited that Soren will be at the Brand ManageCamp marketing conference in Las Vegas in September.

Join us and learn what you need to become a disruptive innovation force to be reckoned with.

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