Tag Archives: disruptive innovation

How mental models block innovation: The case of Alzheimer’s disease

No progress has been made to cure Alzheimer’s disease since it was first discovered in 1906. Why? Not for lack of investment, but because doctors remain stuck in wrong mental models.

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Assessing the Potential of ChatGPT: Lessons from the History of Innovation

[Version in French here]

Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks, you couldn’t escape news about ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence tool that answers all your questions: summarizing an article, informing you about the economic crisis, writing a poem, etc. As with any new technology, it is presented as revolutionary by some and futile, useless, or even dangerous by others. While it will take time for the dust to settle, we can nevertheless avoid some of the pitfalls, and above all, the clear-cut positions, by relying on the history of innovation, which offers at least seven lessons for a more nuanced approach to the debate.

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Is Meta the new Kodak? Eight history lessons on the necessity and risks of big innovation bets

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is doing badly. The announcement of its poor results was very badly received by the stock market. The company lost 25% of its value in one day. The weakness of Facebook and the doubts about the relevance of the colossal investment made in the metaverse, a system creating a virtual world, question the strategy of the company. The weakness of the legacy activity, and the difficulty to launch a new activity, the situation of Meta is not unlike that of Kodak twenty years ago. A look at the history of the major bets made by companies to launch or renew themselves is useful to better understand the issues facing Meta and avoid hasty judgments.

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Innovation: why the distinction between exploration and exploitation is problematic

In the field of innovation, the distinction between exploration and exploitation is universal. It is clear, it seems obvious, and it has become gospel in the world of innovation. Yet it is counter-productive, as it rests on questionable assumptions. It illustrates how the way we formulate a problem, i.e. our mental model, determines our ability to solve it. The wrong mental model locks us in, while the right one opens up possibilities. It’s time to let go the exploration/exploitation distinction.

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Why asking a innovation unit to be more disruptive is not a good idea

[Version française ici]

That innovation units created within large organizations have a difficult life is not new. Most of them disappear after three years on average, because after the euphoric start, they fail to become part of the life of the organization. But those that survive are not out of the woods yet, because they are caught between a top management that demands “more disruption” and an organization that, through its budgetary and control processes, removes any chance for a disruptive project to see the light of day. Getting out of this difficult situation requires being very clear about what “disruptive” means, and understanding the real nature of innovation.

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Disruptive Innovation: What We Owe to Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen, the man behind the work on the notion of disruption, died on January 23, 2020 at the age of 67 of cancer. He was a major management theorist, like giants such as Peter Drucker or Michael Porter, and his work is more relevant than ever at a time when large companies continue to find it difficult to respond to the multiple ruptures in their environment. In what follows, I propose a synthesis of his work to show how it can be very useful.

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What the Dismissal of Jeffrey Immelt (GE) Tells us About the Limits of a Tactical Approach to Innovation

GE has just dismissed its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, who has been in office for sixteen years. Despite considerable work in transforming the business, an ambitious innovation drive, and a big push on some hot topics such as the Internet of Things and sustainable “eco” development, which together seemed to represent the ideal transformation strategy, the results have been disappointing, and the company is now in the hands of activist investors who may soon be dismantling it. If GE has done what looks on paper like the ideal transformation program, and yet fails in the end, what lessons can we draw from its story for innovation and management in times of disruption in general?

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Transformation: The Challenge of Changing the Business Model

The transformation of a business is a very complex operation, but it is even more difficult when it involves a change of business model. Let’s look at why, with a simple example, that of Microsoft Office for its transition from a model of license sale to a model of selling subscriptions.

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Agility is Not the Solution for Innovation

We live in a world of uncertainty and disruptions. To survive in this world, organizations should be agile. The word Agility is now everywhere. This would be the miracle solution to lack of innovation as it emerges every six months. But this is not the case. Agility is not what your organization needs for innovation. Let’s see why.

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Five mistakes to avoid when managing a disruptive project: 5- Choosing the wrong people

This article is the last part of a series of fives articles on mistakes to avoid when managing a disruptive project, extracted from my new book “A Manager’s Guide to Disruptive Innovation”.

One of the mistakes that companies wishing to develop innovative programs often make is to think only in terms of organization and processes: “how can we do it, how can we organize it”, etc. They forget that, as we have pointed out, innovation is a social process and that the human dimension of this process is paramount. Therefore, an important question arises: who should manage an innovation project?

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