I was recently asked to contribute to an expert roundup article by Anthony J James, who was recently voted Linkedin’s Asia Pacific Agency Publisher of the Year.

Amongst several other innovation thought leaders, he wanted to know my thoughts on what it takes to get large companies to be more willing to try out disruptive innovations.

Here were my answers to his three questions:

1.What’s the best way you’ve seen of fostering disruptive innovation in a large enterprise?

The best way to foster disruptive innovation at established organisations is to get them to understand that it isn’t just about new products, it can be about any change which adds value to the end customer.

This could be anything from the product itself, the service that comes with it, new business models, how the customer is informed and cared for and even how the operations work. Probably one of the best introductions to this topic comes from the book “Ten Types of Innovation” by Doblin, which I would recommend every leader to read.

2. Are there any others you think disruptive innovation should be fostered? Can you elaborate on these?

Have a clear view of your innovation strategy, which is what specific (or broad) innovations are needed to meet your future business goals, aligned with your business strategy.

If people know the constraints which their ideas need to meet (set by the strategy), then they’re much more likely to come up with ideas that the business is likely to try. At the same time, you need to create a culture where failure in experimentation is not only tolerated but seen as a necessity.

Adobe has a fantastic programme where they will give any employee who wants to try out an idea $1000 to spend, just to see if it works.

3. In your opinion, should enterprises be focused more on disruptive or incremental innovation?

One of the fastest routes to failure is to think of innovation as an either/or for disruptive vs incremental.

To succeed, a company needs to have a variety of types of innovations it’s working across in its innovation portfolio, each with different timescales and aims. Generally a good strategy is for the majority of budget (more than half) to be set towards incremental innovations, then the remainder split between adjacent / platform innovations for the medium term and transformational / disruptive innovations for the long term.

I would strongly recommend you read his full article on Linkedin to see the responses from some of the industry’s top experts.

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