Here’s an interesting article by Jesse Weaver which closely reflects some of my views on innovation. There is no doubt that the disruptors are the ones the media finds sexy so we hear much more about them. And when they succeed, they do tend to win big. And yes, they are generally amazing.
However, the vast majority of innovation is AND SHOULD BE sustaining – keeping your business up-to-date and healthy.
In his article Jesse writes:
‘We assume first to market is best. Yet, according to researchers at Northwestern, late entrants to a market are more successful than first-movers 70 percent of the time.’
This is not particularly surprising. Of course innovations based upon observation of the market’s response to a new idea are likely to be better suited to the market, and easier and cheaper to develop than the original disruptive product.
So, here’s a thought if you find yourself trying to think up the next best thing in your industry. Stop. Look round and see what is already working really well and has changed the market and see if you can come up with an even better version of it. Just bear in mind, those disruptors will come and change the game again so never think any innovation is final!