Social Media and Disruptive Innovation

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After giving a presentation on the value of social media in innovation efforts, one of the participants shared his views: “I don’t believe social media can help bring out disruptive innovation.”

It was an interesting statement. First of all, I do not believe that you can plan for disruptive innovation. It simply has too many unknowns (technology or market-wise) making it difficult to plan for it. However, I am a strong believer that organizations can create the right conditions and environment for distruptive innovation to happen.

A key element for this is that you need to be open for new kinds of input and this is where social media can play an important role. If done right, social media can help you bring in unexpected contributions from unexpected or previously unknown sources.

Look at a community site like IngenuityWorking.com run by Psion, a maker of rugged, mobile computers. They have created a community that not only showcases their innovation assets and needs. It also enables an entire ecosystem to discuss innovation and exchange ideas. What if two companies connect here, come up with a great idea and then want Psion to be involved?

This could lead to an unforseen opportunity for Psion and since it comes from unexpected sources, it might even have a disruptive potential. Psion has created a system in which they got the conditions and the environment for disruptive innovation in place. However, this is only at the early stages – the front end of innovation – as Psion still needs to have processes in place in order to turn such ideas into revenues.

Nevertheless, I think Psion and other companies with similar communities have a valuable asset here for disruptive as well as other kinds of innovation – and yes – social media can play an important role for disruptive innovation.

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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