What is Disruptive Innovation - Know Your Core


What is disruptive innovation? Let's just throw a bunch of stuff on the wall to see what sticks.

I'm sure you've heard that before. While that may be the go-to strategy for innovation for a lot of organizations it rarely works. When you employ the let's see what sticks strategy you do the following.

  1. You stretch your resources too thin. Instead of having any focus or guardrails, you have people, resources, and ideas going in every direction.
  2. The lack of a foundation to innovate off of leads to ideas that either aren't plausible or aren't relevant to your business.
  3. The most frustrating outcome of this approach is constant failure. Ideas, even the ones that seem to stick, don't tend to work. That gets mistaken with the feeling that all your innovation efforts are failures.

The smarter way to innovate is to first know your core. What's the one foundational element that the house of your business is built on? Let me share some examples.


  • So what is at their core?
  • Do they sell books?
  • Do they stream videos?

Yeah they do all that. But at their core, the foundation of their success is crazy-good distribution systems. I mean how did my rice cooker get here in two days? It's amazing! I'm gonna continue on with Amazon and why this is so important.

But before I do that take a moment and pause this video. Draw a circle in the center of a blank page and write in it what's in your core.

I'll wait...

All right good. Now don't be surprised if you change it after giving it more thought.

So let's go back to Amazon. Most of you have seen the news that Amazon bought Whole Foods for you know bucket loads of money. What I found fascinating were the comments that started streaming in on the reporting of this purchase. Comments like:

  • Why would Amazon want to get into the food business?
  • What does Amazon know about all natural foods?
  • Why would Amazon go from online to retail when everyone else is going in the other direction?

Haters, I'd like to suggest that those comments aren't taking to account what's at the core of Amazon's business - crazy-good distribution systems. And what's on the rise - food delivery. Uber is doing it, I use Instacart twice a week. When you know your core, you know where, how and why you innovate. Amazon getting into the food distribution business is not only innovative and it's gonna change the food game, but smart you know what they know how to do. Amazon's recent move into food teaches us that innovating against your core is much smarter than let's see what sticks.

Here's the thing. You fall back to the see what sticks method because you don't actually have clarity around your core. You may think you do but I've seen it time and time again. When we're hired for innovation work with our clients, we have to take a step back and identify the core, then the innovation flows. When you know your core you can actually stretch yourself further. Knowing your core doesn't handcuff you to incremental ideas. It's a springboard for big bold ideas.

Let's take Under Armor. So most of us know them for their clothing. But did you know they also got into the community space with their Under Armour Connected? Which has more than 125 million users. That's because their core isn't fabric, it's making athletes better. With that at their core they're doing some seriously innovative things. Leaders in their field.

Here at LaunchStreet our core is unleashing innovative people. It drives all our innovation efforts. It's what helped us decide to launch our proprietary assessment innovation quotient edge that helps people discover their unique innovator archetype. We aren't in the assessment business, but we are definitely in the unleashing innovation business.

When you feel like you have nailed your core statement, and remember it's not always what you think, it takes most people a few times to get it right. No matter the size of the business. Brainstorm ways your business could innovate off of it. Create a mind map, gather the team, see where they take the ideas. Then share your experience in the comments section below this video. Now go dig into your core and start innovating.

To read more about disruptive innovation check out this article here on LaunchStreet.

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