3 Approaches to Business Innovation Techniques

As we compete in our respective markets, we are always looking for new business innovation techniques. A popular phrase that has recently popped up when discussing innovative method is “disruptive innovation”. The way in which this is described has gone beyond the context where it was used originally by Clay Christensen. It has now become one of those new corporate buzzwords that everyone loves to throw around, even though many of them has no clue what it really means. It can be extremely difficult to achieve goals via disruptive innovation when you don’t even know what it means. This is not the best way to approach business innovation techniques in your group.

Business Innovation Techniques 101

We all know the business world of today is one that is chock full of disruptions – any of which can knock your day and your current progress right off the track at any given time. Thus, it is vital to really understand how disruptive innovation is created. Too many of us in the business world wind up shaking things up only to say that we took action – this is not good at all. Then there are others who can only muster a slight bend in our marketplace, such small efforts tend to slowly disappear over time.

The thing to realize is that disruptive innovations that are real will create a permanent break in your marketplace. It becomes a change that cannot be undone. Why not use an approach that allows you to stand out from the others?

When done properly, disruptive innovation will do more than get your ahead of the curve, it will help your establish and define your own personal curve. This is what disruptive innovation techniques are all about. Let us look at 3 key elements that will drive your own brand of innovation.

1. Re-Establish an Entire Category

For many years and across many generations, people saw a circus as an event as a 3 tents that included animals, ring leaders, and lots of popcorn. That was how all of us visualized the circus. Then Cirque Du Soleil came along and totally changed the circus picture. They removed the animals and brought in the amazing human acrobats, they brought in engaging storytelling, and focused on the performance. This completely re-established the circus category. As other circuses traveled around the country struggling, this new circus thrived.

No consider how Netflix totally redefined the notion of renting movies.  Now we don’t have to go outside our home to rent movies anymore – unless we want to. And how about the way that Uber has changed the world of taxis?

These are all great examples of disruptive innovation by changing an entire category.

2. Creating the Behavior of Customers

Another way to employ disruptive innovation is by changing or creating the behavior of customers. A great example of this is the Dollar Shave Club who literally changed how thousands of men shave every day. Instead of buying razor blades at the store, they were convinced to let their razors be delivered to their doorstep.

Keurig convinced coffee drinkers to try making coffee one cup at a time using their coffee system. Now thousands of them are making coffee by the cup instead of by the pot.

3. Change the Arc of your Business

Sometimes these business innovation techniques are very subtle. So much so that the disruptive innovation is not observed within the marketplace itself, but is felt and seen internally inside an organization. This is what happens when single products in a business outperforms the rest of the business. 

A good example of this is WD40, which wasn’t expected to be a big success. Yet it literally became the trajectory of the entire company.  This is where you don’t even see disruptive innovation coming.

Just like the coffee filter companies who focused so much on boosting the paper filter quality that they didn’t even see Keurig and their coffee pods coming. Yet coffee consumption went up overall. Blackberry, who created developed the handheld phone category, did not even see the Apple ipods or the iphones coming, which totally replaced the existing marketplace at that time. And then there was Blockbuster who decided to double down on their customer service and didn’t see how Netflix was changing the landscape of their entire marketplace.

Disruption will not always come from your competitors who do similar things in a very similar manner. The challenge becomes that you must be willing to disrupt the way that business is currently being conducted. And quite honestly, someone will find a way to drive disruption, whether your company does or not. This is why business innovation techniques are so important in today’s market.