Disruptive Innovation at Large Companies: The Examples of Tesla, GE, Apple and Cisco


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When I posted an article, 9 Innovation Concepts and Methodologies to Embrace, Consider or Re-think, I got a relevant comment from Collin Smith, which went like this:

“For large companies to introduce disruptive innovations into the marketplace, they must first be innovative about disrupting themselves.”

When it comes to radical innovation, it is important to have in mind that you can’t plan for this. You can only create the right framework and conditions for this to happen and then adapt as needed. Some luck is also required.

One way to create the right framework and conditions could be for companies to disrupt themselves and innovate how they do things including the innovation process itself. Disruptive innovation is not necessarily about products, technologies or services; it can also be internal processes.

I got to think about this, when I read Collin’s comment and I started to think of companies that have done something different recently. Tesla, GE, Apple and Cisco are four examples.

Not so long ago, Tesla decided to open up their patent portfolio to the outside world.

GE has long been an open innovation leader and now they are mixing open innovation and the maker movement in an effort to change the appliances market.

Apple is sitting on pile of cash, and they have now begun to put some of this at work in order to acquire new brands as well as capabilities. This is a different, but still relevant way to innovation.

Cisco is not known for being the most open of companies, but they are trying to change this with their Entrepreneurs in Residence program.

The above examples are different ways to change – even disrupt – the internal and external views and perceptions around innovation and it will be interesting to see how this will turn out.

Let me know if you can share other interesting examples on of large companies that are trying do things differently – even radically differently – with their innovation processes and capabilities.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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