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Nondisruptive Creation

An excerpt from Beyond Disruption on positive-sum innovation

For the past 20 years, “disruption” has been the battle cry of business: Disrupt this. Disrupt that. Disrupt or die. Calls for disruption have rung out across Silicon Valley, major corporate boardrooms, the media, and business conferences around the globe. Corporate leaders have continually been warned that the only way to survive, succeed, and grow is to disrupt their industries or even their own companies. Not surprisingly, many have come to see disruption as a near-synonym for innovation.

But is disruption the only way to innovate and grow? And is it necessarily the best way? As our research and these cases suggest, the answer is no. It may be what people talk about, it’s certainly important, and it’s all around us. But the overriding focus on disruption has led us to largely overlook another avenue of innovation and growth—one that we would argue is at least as important. That avenue involves the creation of new markets without disruption or displacement—what we’ve come to think of as nondisruptive creation.

If we could better understand this other form of market-creating innovation and how it works, we would be better equipped to achieve it. Thus began our latest research, which we unveil in our new book Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs. In it, we explain that nondisruptive creation can’t be defined as inventive or new technology or new-to-the-world innovation per se. Nor is it confined to any specific geographic market or socioeconomic level. W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

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