Price Waterhouse Coopers published a document in September 2013 on daring, disruptive innovation with a rigorous investigation spanning over three years of 1,757 of the world’s top executives in 30 sectors and 25 countries, showing that Companies/Institutions that have adopted social networks as part of their working practices, along with an interconnection with their employees and teams, have a greater percentage of disruptive innovation.
I believe the three most important conclusions in the study are, firstly, that in the last three years the most innovative companies have grown 16% more than the average, which translates as more income for these companies ($500 Million per year). The most innovative companies hope to grow 62%, compared to the average 35%, or 21% for the least innovative companies.
My second conclusion is the importance given by more advanced companies to having goals/targets to achieve in terms of disruptive innovation. In this sense, they more than double the results obtained by less innovative companies.
And the third conclusion is the correlation between the use of social networks among the most innovative companies (67%) and the least innovative (39%), particularly with external collaborators (34% vs. 10%). Social networks show a special level of openness in top companies and, therefore, are more prone to open innovation, which allows for the greatest level of disruptive innovation.
Innovation today is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Innovation can move mountains, while not innovating will lead to a company’s death. We cannot content ourselves simply with promoting organic, sustainable and evolutionary innovation, or “bit by bit” innovation; from time to time, what you need is ideas that generate disruptive innovation, the kind of innovation that takes us forwards to changes in the market, or that helps us believe in that change ourselves, even before the final user or consumer is aware of what he or she needs or wants.
That is the case with Apple in each and every one of its wise moves, although they’ve also done things wrong, like with Copland OS, MacTV, the USB mouse, multimedia Pipping… but if you want to get things right most of the time you need to be a disruptive innovator. Who would have thought we would need an iPod, or an iPad, or an iPhone before they made it to the market as a fait accompli, instantly becoming an object of desire that everyone suddenly aspired to: all of these products created a new market.
The fact is that disruptive innovation is the kind of innovation that creates a new market or a new interconnected and multidisciplinary value network, with different products and services to those already available. Eventually, it will displace an entire market in a few years, changing the way things are done in that market. But disruptive innovation is also a competitive necessity (43% of the executives in the study believe so, 67% among the more innovative companies), a strategic value that needs to be incorporated to companies’ DNA, where social networks and new suggestion/ideas boxes become democratic.