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BW Businessworld

Time To Go Disruptive

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The term innovation, especially in a corporate context, evokes mixed feelings. It is something everyone wishes to be successful at, without knowing how. In this excellent book, Scott D. Anthony, former president of innovation consultancy Innosight, busts many commonly held beliefs. For example, he says, innovation is more predictable and less random than many perceive it is. Also, innovation and chaos are not friends. He says the current economic situation is no excuse for a flight to safety either. Corporations need, what he calls, "disruptive innovations", which disrupt and redefine what constitutes quality. Nintendo's home console Wii changed the rules of video gaming by allowing people to control games with arm motions, instead of complex button mashing.

The book is full of such insightful examples, and the author brings out his rich and diverse experience to lay down a roadmap for companies to follow. To start with, companies need to prioritise innovation initiatives. Standard tools of measurement such as first year revenues are not sufficient. Had Google been measured on these counts, it would have been written off as a failure. Factors such as upside potential and unique contribution to portfolio balance serve better. The book also lends a personal dimension by asking leaders to learn to manage paradoxical situations. Towards the end, the author lists ten disruptive ideas of the future, including Facebook and Alibaba.com. These are indeed the silver lining.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 24-08-2009)