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  • Thomas Storteboom

Can you plan for disruptive innovation?

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Disruptive Innovation… It is an amazing thing when it happens, but sometimes it seems random. Can you actively plan to find a disruptive innovation?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the differences between disruptive and incremental innovations. Both are massively important. You need to pursue both if want to be successful. However, disruptive innovations seem to get all the headlines and if we are honest with ourselves, probably the harder ones to find ideas for.

Does it need to be this way? Can you systematically find disruptive innovations?

This WSJ article discusses Midea’s out of the box thinking that led them to disrupt the window air-conditioning industry with their new U-shaped air-conditioner.

By looking at the entire product and customer experience and focusing on “There has to be a better way of doing this”, they were able to come up with a completely different design.

The other key thing they did was to focus on eliminating customer pain points. They designed the issues out of the new product. By doing it differently they had the opportunity to completely remove things that customers always complain about. This is another key factor in disrupting a market. Take away pain points and people will embrace your new idea.

By doing things differently Midea created a product that excels over the current designs in many different ways, noise, efficiency, and ease of installation. Sounds like a complete win!

Summary - if you want to start finding disruptive innovations regularly then:

1) Develop a mindset focused on finding a better way.

2) Design the new product in a way that eliminates customer pain points.

Let me know if you have any other ways that you use to identify disruptive innovations.

Thanks for reading!


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