By Steve Wunker and Dave Farber
Anytime a start-up raises a lot of capital or an interesting product takes off, the Internet is abuzz with how that company or product is disrupting its industry.
But as Clayton Christensen — the Harvard Business School professor who coined the term “disruptive innovation” — has explained, the term “disruption” is often misunderstood and misused. It’s about more than just someone shaking up an industry. While it might seem trivial to argue the theory’s precise definition, being able to spot the true markers of disruption enables companies to proactively capitalize on potentially game-changing areas of opportunity.
With that in mind, it’s important to recognize that being able to spot the opportunity is only one part of the battle. To take advantage of these openings, companies need to design solutions that satisfy real consumer needs. And that’s where another theory popularized by Prof. Christensen comes into play: Jobs to be Done — a theory used to explain why customers buy one product over another.
Used together, these two theories are a powerful force: While the former helps us see where there are promising opportunities to innovate, the latter tells us how to do so. Once they understand the details of both theories and how they intersect, leaders are left with a recipe for successful innovation.
This case study can be accessed via the Harvard Business Review website.