Iv) Right Process Is Used

In developing strategy for disruptive innovation, ensure that the right process is used in the right circumstances. Most innovative ideas need to be nurtured via a business plan which includes strategy as a basis to win funding. There are 2 simultaneous processes in developing strategy, ie deliberate and emergent

i) deliberate is a conscious and analytical approach based upon rigorous analysis of data on market growth, segment size, customer needs, competitors' strengths and weaknesses, technological trends, etc. Usually there are discrete beginnings and endings with a top-down approach. There are 3 conditions which must be met:

- the strategy must correctly address all the important factors required for success; those implementing the strategy must understand their responsibilities

- if the strategy requires collective action, then all stakeholders need to have ownership of the strategy and its implementation

- there is little unanticipated or unpredictable impact from outside influences, ie influences not covered by the strategy

ii) the emergent strategy is based upon the cumulative impact of day-to-day priorities and decisions made by all staff.

"...emergent processes should dominate in circumstances in which the future is hard to read and in which it is not clear what the right strategy should be..."

Clayton Christensen et al, 2003

This is most appropriate way of working if the past is not going to be a good indicator of the future, such as when confronted with unexpected crises and opportunities.

In fact, using the emergent approach can be an important way to approach the initial development of innovations. It will help determine what works and what does not, and a chance to cycle the learnings back into the processes, ie

"...openness to emergent strategy enables management before everything is fully understood - to respond to evolving reality rather than having to focus on a stable fantasy......emergent strategy itself implies learning what works - taking one action at a time in a search for the viable pattern or consistency..."

Mintzberg & Waters as quoted by Clayton Christensen et al, 2003

In most waves of disruptive growth, only a few organisations succeed. The reasons for failure are

i) lack of flexibility in implementing their strategies

ii) mishandling the allocation of resources

The evolution from emergent to a deliberate strategy mode is pivotal in the success of the initial disruptive business. It is important that senior management understands the need for the evolution and is aware of the resource allocation process that filters out disruptive innovations and favours sustaining innovations. While encouraging the growth of the disruptive innovation by emergent processes, established businesses still need a deliberate strategy process to handle sustaining innovations that will help keep the organisation competitive and profitable.

 

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