By Nav Dhunay — Aug 13, 2018
Ideas are valuable in business, but how can you ensure they meet their full potential?
Disruption is a word we hear a lot. At times it can seem like every square foot of the business landscape has been in a rut and needs to be shaken to its senses by a band of marauding innovators.
Advancing technologies are undoubtedly forcing many industries to reevaluate how they operate but the truth is that many of the ‘disruptions’ we hear about are, in reality, simply iterations on what’s already in place.
A different style spoke isn’t a disrupted wheel.
Disruption is, after all, meant to be disruptive. It should agitate, fundamentally change long held perspectives, change behaviour, change how problems are viewed and ultimately, what are viewed as problems at all.
The question is then, what makes something truly disruptive and how can entrepreneurs who are driven to shake up a status quo come up with, and execute on, ‘real deal’ ideas?
Ideas need teams
A great idea might come to an individual in a flash of blinding inspiration. It won’t though, get very far without a team of great people.
How do you build that team?
There’s a special, magical alchemy that happens when talented individuals form to create a great team. In my experience, creating cohesion and eventual brilliance comes from prioritizing attitude and mindset over simply skill sets, when hiring.
Being disruptive means creating something that hasn’t existed before.
This is made possible through building a team that’s at home challenging conventional thinking, trusting their talent and establishing a culture where outlandish innovation is championed and failure is embraced as both a logical and integral part of the journey to success.
Look for gaps … everywhere
Finding an environment and opportunity for disruption requires a skill and desire to consistently be looking slightly over the horizon. Using a well-worn hockey metaphor, if the puck is about to go from player A to B, where’s it headed after that … and after that?
Becoming adept at spotting where momentum is gaining pace will offer the best opportunities for entrepreneurs to see where gaps will soon begin to widen between what a market will aspire to see, buy or experience and what an industry is able to deliver.
The founders of the proverbial ‘disruption poster children’, AirBnB, Uber, Amazon and Tesla all saw widening gaps and set about filling them long before they were obvious to anyone else.
Keep it simple
I know, I know, we all could have thought of Uber. I mean, it’s so simple, so obvious — ‘an app to hail cabs and share rides’. It’s as if the team who eventually went ahead and built it were just the ones who reached out and plucked it from the tree first.
No, not right, but there’s something there.
While the reality of building Uber was of course, infinitely more complicated than an initial, high level idea, the very best, disruptive, ideas can seem, on the face of it, relatively simple. They’ll also tend to share some similar traits-
- the opportunities they represent are desirable to a significant sized group
- they’re affordable within the context of that group
- they can be executed in stages to continually prove their validity
Figure out who cares
If you’ve struck upon an ingenious idea but have to work hard to figure out who might want it, my advice would be to save yourself the trouble. If a market being addressed is simply too small or those within it aren’t experiencing obvious enough pain points, attempts to bring change won’t be worth your while, or theirs.
Truly disruptive companies do not create products and then search for a market to sell them to, they don’t seek to make incremental improvements to what’s already there and they don’t always get it right first time. Disruptive entrepreneurs have to be prepared to try and be prepared to fail and try again.
So if you’ve gotten to the place where you can’t believe your idea doesn’t already exist, and you can’t last an elevator ride without telling someone about it, it’s probably time to get started.
Nav Dhunay is president & CEO of Imaginea Ai.
Originally published at minutehack.com.