Five behaviours of disruptive innovators (Kim Hartshorne)

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Kim HartshorneKim Hartshorne outlines five behaviours of disruptive innovators.

Pioneers are often people who find the status quo innately frustrating - mainly because they have seen a glimpse of how it could be better, improved, changed, more fit for purpose. But how do we get from where we are now in our organisations, to where we'd like to be? A bull in a china shop approach might not be the best way!

This article from the website of American media and publishing company, Forbes, talks about 'disruptive innovators' who agitate and help create the conditions where change can begin to happen:

Successful innovation requires the right culture but new or incumbent leaders frustrated with a slow pace of innovation can start making change happen by behaving differently. It takes work, and may require some retraining, but the authors’ point is that anyone can innovate if they follow the five skills of disruptive innovators. They are:

Questioning, which allows innovators to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities. Example: Howard Schultz of Starbucks and Pradeep Sindhu of Juniper Networks.

Observing, which helps innovators detect small behavioural details - in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies - that suggest new ways of doing things. Examples: Rakesh Kapoor of Reckitt Benckiser and Jean-Paul Agon of L’Oreal.

Networking, which permits innovators to gain radically different perspectives from individuals with diverse backgrounds. Example: Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Victoria Barret's take on Benioff.

Experimenting, which prompts innovators to relentlessly try out new experiences, take things apart, and test new ideas. Example: Bobby Kotick from Activision Blizzard.

Associational Thinking - drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields - is triggered by questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting and is the catalyst for creativity. Example: Natura Cosmeticos, the 'Avon' of Brazil, which uses such cross-disciplinary teams to dream up new personal care products.

That's as good a description of pioneering as I think you'll see and I think it can be applied to so many situations we find ourselves in vis-à-vis the inherited church. Slow and steady sometimes wins the race and these skills will be incredibly useful for that.

You can read the full article on the Forbes website.

About the author: 

Kim Hartshorne is leader of the Upper Room Community in Cirencester.


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