How to Champion Technology Disruptions in Your Organization? - 1

POSTED BY : Principal Architect - MS Azure CoE
Thursday, April 7, 2016

How to Champion Technology Disruptions in Your Organization?

“Think outside the box", "The leadership doesn't get it", "We've always been doing it this way".  Isn't it striking that all of these phrases are often used in the context of disruptive innovation? While the first one is calling for a new idea or a new way of doing things; the second is about how a potentially disruptive thought isn't being heard; while the third is about outright dismissal of a new method.

Regardless of which of those phrases or their variants you get to hear, how do we get started; what do we do next with your big idea?

We'll get started by looking at what kind or type of innovation qualifies as disruptive; then look at the status quo, as to how most corporate structures, business models and operating models are currently laid out. Finally, we’ll figure out what kind of resistance is likely to occur when you attempt to disrupt a market or a corporate system and ultimately see it through to glory.

What does disruption really mean?

Disruption or the call for disruption has emerged and gained popularity with the rise of the startup ecosystems around the world. Startups like Uber, Tesla, SpaceX and the like come to mind when we think of disruption. What is disruption exactly, what are its characteristics; most importantly, how do you know if you've an idea that is disruptive?

Simply stated - anything that solves problems in ways most people have never thought about earlier and brings customers closer to a solution than ever before is an innovation. And, as a consequence, it upsets the existing status quo enjoyed by the incumbents. This situation puts the problem that was being solved in a certain way in an entirely new light.  Take the case of how Airbnb brilliantly gets to the core of customers' problem i.e. accommodation. This was earlier thought to be solved by hotels. In the sharing economy, Airbnb allows any individual to rent out their homes for a short duration. The ability to convert private homes ready for collaborative consumption radically changes the market dominated by the conventional hospitality industry. This is the equivalent of what Expedia did to travel agents. Or in the case of Uber, customers get to choose between car ownership and public transportation, where the real problem for the customer is accessing transportation and not necessarily owning a car. 

Disruption brings your customers closer to the solution

In all of the cases above, the new disruptive innovation brings the customer closer to the solution than before; by solving it in ways not attempted by the incumbents. Consequently, disruption upsets large powerhouses by decentralization; take the case of hospitality industry vs Airbnb, Microsoft vs Opensource, or Encarta vs Wikipedia. 

So, how to champion technology disruption in your organization? Read Part-2  of the blog for tips on how to successfully identify and implement disruptive innovation.

Vishnu Rajkumar
Principal Architect - MS Azure CoE