Is it the terrible ideas that are the most disruptive ones?

There was a great comment by Alan Jones of BlueChilli this week that summed up one of the real challenges of disruptive innovation. What he said is this;

…it’s the terrible ideas which are truly disruptive, which have massive entrenched competition, making products nobody wants to buy or even has a use for yet, which don’t have a clear revenue model or a go to market strategy.

What does this say about disruptive innovation? That it’s hard to predict! Disruptive innovations are low performers in the first instance, not high performers. This is where they start, before they rapidly develop to the point where they can compete in mainstream markets. And it is by no means certain that a potentially disruptive innovation will actually become disruptive. All of the normal competitive threats and business challenges lie between the fledgling innovation and the industry defining impact that they might one day come to represent.

The moral to the story in this case is that adopting disruption as a deliberate business strategy is risky business.  Find a market need, define a coherent business plan, then set about taking it to market.  Disruption will follow as a result of good business planning and execution, not planning to be disruptive!