We help companies design disruptive innovations. This is how we do it...

Whether you're a large high-tech multinational company, an advertising agency, a small non-profit organization, or simply the next hottest startup, we have successfully applied the same approach to helping our clients identify, design, and launch disruptive innovations that grow new market opportunities:

1.  DEFINE NEW PRODUCT MARKETS VIA THE DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION MODEL

The theory of disruptive innovation was first coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen in his research on the disk-drive industry and later popularized by his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, published in 1997. It explains the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability where complication and high cost are the status quo. Initially, a disruptive innovation is formed in a niche market that may appear unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents, but eventually the new product or idea completely redefines the industry.

 Courtesy: Clayton Christensen Institute

Courtesy: Clayton Christensen Institute

A classic example is the personal computer. Prior to its introduction, mainframes and minicomputers were the prevailing products in the computing industry. At a minimum, they were priced around $200,000 and required engineering experience to operate. Apple, one of the pioneers in personal computing, began selling its early computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s—but as a toy for children. At that point, the product wasn’t good enough to compete with the minicomputers, but Apple’s customers didn’t care because they couldn’t afford or use the expensive minicomputers. The inferior computer was much better than their alternative: nothing at all. Little by little, the innovation improved. Within a few years, the smaller, more affordable personal computer became good enough that it could do the work that previously required minicomputers. This created a huge new market and ultimately eliminated the existing industry.

It’s important to remember that disruption is a positive force. Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough technologies that make good products better; rather they are innovations that make products and services more accessible and affordable, thereby making them available to a much larger population.

2.  FOCUS ON "JOBS TO BE DONE", NOT TECH FOR TECH'S SAKE 

While our technical backgrounds empower us to prospect the most promising technological advancements that could propel your venture, lasting disruptive innovations never last unless they can define a clear, compelling answer to a critical human problem. We've found Dr. Christensen's "jobs-to-be-done" framework as a helpful way to look at customer motivations in business settings. Conventional marketing techniques teach us to frame customers by attributes – using age ranges, race, marital status, and other categories that ultimately create products and entire categories too focused on what companies want to sell, rather than on what customers actually need. The jobs-to-be-done framework is a tool for evaluating the circumstances that arise in customers’ lives. Customers rarely make buying decisions around what the “average” customer in their category may do — but they often buy things because they find themselves with a problem they would like to solve. With an understanding of the “job” for which customers find themselves “hiring” a product or service, companies can more accurately develop and market products well-tailored to what customers are already trying to do. 

In other words, people don't want to buy a drill... they want to buy a quarter-inch hole! Click the video below for Dr. Christensen's classic milkshake example:

Understanding a product¹s actual job makes improving the product easier. Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School talks about the job to be done.

3.  DESIGN THINKING 

Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which our partner IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.

 Courtesy: IDEO

Courtesy: IDEO

Under this system, we use both analytical tools and generative techniques to help clients see how their new or existing operations could look in the future — and build road maps for getting there. Our methods include proven methods such as business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation.

All of our work is done in consideration of the capabilities of our clients and the needs of their customers. As we iterate toward a final solution, we assess and reassess our designs. Our goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies. The result: new, innovative avenues for growth that are grounded in business viability and market desirability.

4.  BEHAVIORAL SYSTEMS™  

After more than 50 years of cumulative experience, our team has learned that even once you've successfully identified, designed, and launched a successful disruptive innovation resulting in a new market addressing customers' latent or unmet needs, this is still often not good enough to last. Disruption is necessary but not sufficient. The innovation must create what we have coined Behavioral Systems™: disruptive innovations that establish themselves as daily routines or habits in their customer's lifestyle. They must create new recurring unconscious behaviors - or bolster existing ones - that serve to permanently change their customer's life in a meaningful way. 

 Training over 500 companies from Google, Facebook, GE, NASA,... even The White House

Training over 500 companies from Google, Facebook, GE, NASA,... even The White House

Based on overwhelming interest from our clients in our Behavioral Systems practice, in 2012 we collaborated with research from over 100 behavioral scientists to deliver a training platform that helps organizations to design their own Behavioral Systems. Companies use this "Training-as-a-Service" platform called Habit Design® to transform their disruptive innovations into positive daily habits that improve their customer's personal wellbeing and productivity. In less than 2 years, Habit Design has been applied at over 500 companies reaching over 100,000 customers at leading innovators such as Google, Facebook, GE, NASA, and even The White House. 

Habit Design® applied as part of a Russian campaign to make citizens healthier, riders who buy a ticket at Vystavochnaya station in western Moscow have the option of paying in squats.