In The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, three professors discuss the characteristics, values, attitudes and competencies of innovative entrepreneurs and provide suggestions on how individuals, teams, and organizations can learn the behaviors.

The authors describe the behavioral aspects of innovative entrepreneurship as “the discovery of value versus the delivery of value.”  This means that discovery talent and execution talent both need to be present but may not be present in the same individual.

“The five disruptive innovator skills, all of which have to be present, are:

-> Associating

-> Questioning

-> Observing

-> Networking

-> Experimenting

The first is a thinking skill and the others are behavioral skills.”

(Note: When I was in grade school and middle school, individuals who were too different and too ‘disruptive’ spent a lot of time in the Principal’s office and had to stay after school! Now being different or disruptive is viewed as a valuable asset.)

Examples of disruptive innovation:

  1. GOOGLE engineers are encouraged to take 20 percent of their time to work on something company-related that interests them personally.
  2. 3M’s “15 percent time,” is a program that allows employees to use a portion of their paid time to chase rainbows and hatch their own ideas. It might seem like a squishy employee benefit. But the time has actually produced many of the company’s best-selling products – post-it® notes.
  3. “In the 1990s, the music industry phased out the single, leaving consumers with no means to purchase individual songs. Online retailers such as the iTunes store and filled the void. This low end disruption eventually undermined the sales of physical, high-cost CDs.”

Adopting a disruptive innovation strategy may be useful for leaders who are in career transition. I have noticed the behaviors and practices of those leaders who successfully come out the other side of transition in a better situation than what they had previously.

Expressed in disruptive innovation terms, the leaders who were successful in career transition:

A question for you to consider:

  • To ‘land’ successfully in a new role – does every transitioning leader need to be a disruptive innovator?

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Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook  go to:   Email:  Phone:  1.940.367.0837  

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4 Responses to What Leaders Can Learn From Disruptive Innovators

  1. Dallas Diggs says:

    CG, good input to be aware of…thanks

  2. […] an Extraordinary Career Success Formula to move ahead two to three levels in an upward or outward way from your current career center is […]

  3. […] an Extraordinary Career Success Formula to move ahead two to three levels in an upward or outward way from your current career center is […]

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