Books on anything digital is steeped in jargon and are largely technology heavy and light on business insights. A recent and good exception is this book. It even got the guru of disruptive innovation Clayton Christensen to acknowledge that “I have studied disruptive innovation for more than two decades. A new book by James McQuivey of Forrester Research (February 2013) and Josh Bernoff titled Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation offers insights about disruption- -and about the accelerating pace of disruption–that I truly hadn’t understood before.” A huge complement indeed!
This book covers management tools more than digital technology. It provides a good way to engage executives in a general discussion about where, how and when to think about disrupting the status quo in their industry and in their organization.
McQuivey has been teaching people how to do this for over a decade. He’s gone into large companies including traditional industries like insurance and consumer packaged goods, and changed the way they think about innovation. Nothing like lessons from case studies which the author provides abundantly.
McQuivey shows how Dr. Hugh Reinhoff of Ferrokin BioSciences disrupted the pharmaceutical industry, streamlining connections with doctors and regulators to bring molecules to market faster—and then sold out for $100 millions. Examples also include how Charles Teague and his team of four people created Lose It!, a weight loss application that millions have adopted, achieving rapid success and undermining titans like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig in the process.
He shows that regardless of your background and industry, you can learn how to be a digital disruptor too. First, adopt the right mindset: Take risks, invest as cheaply as possible, and build on existing platforms to find the fastest path to solving a customer’s problem.
Second, seek the “adjacent possible”—the space just next to yours where new technology creates opportunity. That’s how Benjamin Rubin and Paolo DePetrillo of Zeo created a $100 sleep monitor that does much of what you’d get from a $3,000 sleep lab visit.
Finally, disrupt yourself. Use these tools to make parts of your business obsolete before your competitors do. That’s what Tim FitzRandolph did at Disney, creating a game that shot to the top of the app store charts. With the tools in this book you can assess your readiness, learn the disruptive mindset, and innovate rapidly, starting right within your own business.