Socrates taught us to question every assumption. And when it comes to innovation, nothing could be closer to the truth. But Luke Williams, professor of Innovation & Design at NYU Stern School of Business and author of DISRUPT, takes this notion a step further—”disruptive innovation.”
Speaking at the BRITE ’11 conference, Williams explained that companies today tend to have a myopic vision when using new technologies to build their brands. Digital magazines, for example, may offer more features, but they’re still giving consumers what they expect in ways that they expect. “As a result, a lot of our brand-building around these new technologies has taken on some pretty predictable trajectories.”
Disruptive innovation, however, is not about technological change. According to Williams, it’s about a revolution in behavior and “changing the way you think about a category.” Brands need to move beyond focusing on what the latest technology can do for their company or product. Williams challenged the audience to break free from conventional assumptions about a category to see from a new perspective. To do so, he reminds us to be careful of cultural influence and to pay attention to context, not just the foreground.
As consumers and the marketplace evolve, it is increasingly important to embrace disruptive innovation before it is forcibly imposed by a new competitor or shifting consumer landscape. To quote Harvard Law School professor, Roberto Unger, “the task of the imagination is to do the work of crisis without crisis.”
BY ALLIE ABODEELY