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Innovation or Disruption

I was thinking recently about the differences between innovation and disruption. I realized that the differences are all about context. They are essentially the same thing.

Innovation is an internal process. When someone masterminds a better way to undertake a process, let’s say organizing an assembly line, they are innovating. They aren’t disrupting because the company is better off for it. This innovation is not likely to lead to disruption either. Assuming it only allows them to lower their prices they aren’t disrupting their industry, they are just competing differently.

Disruption is external. Apple’s innovations disrupted Microsoft, PC manufacturers and the music industry. Their internal innovations lead to external disruptions. Apple clearly doesn’t compete based on price, they compete based on their image and innovation.

When it comes down to it, innovation and disruption are two different ways to describe the same thing. You can innovate without disrupting, but you can’t disrupt without innovating.

Have you innovated today?

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