Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Economist Schumpeter column this week is based on The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators  by Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen.
Mr Christensen and his colleagues list five habits of mind that characterise disruptive innovators: associating, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting. Innovators excel at connecting seemingly unconnected things. Marc Benioff got the idea for Salesforce.com by looking at enterprise software through the prism of online businesses such as Amazon and eBay. Why were software companies flogging cumbersome products in the form of CD-ROMs rather than as flexible services over the internet? Salesforce.com is now worth $19 billion.
While the emphasis here seems to be on business innovation, I suspect that the analysis would also apply to social innovation.

Indeed, thinking broadly and unconventionally, questioning assumptions, observing carefully, networking effectively and broadly, and experimenting (accepting failure as useful but limiting the costs of failures) seem to be good practices for people generally.

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