The case for being disruptively good

Disruptive and business model innovation on the one hand and green innovation on the other – those are the major themes among the innovation blogs this time around. In a visionary post at HBR, Umair Haque argues why the future of profitable business likely is to do more good and less evil! And don’t miss the series of blog posts on increasing your creativity!
Marcus’ favorites this week: Most actionable knowledge: Lateral action’s 11 blog posts of how to become more creative.
Most inspirational: Umair Haque’s The Case for Being Disruptively Good.

It is only two weeks since last time, and my feed reader is brimming with blog posts on innovation management! Perhaps April is an unusually active week for innovation bloggers or maybe the recent indications of an economic recovery has inspired renewed energy among the community? Enough said, let’s get started with the cream of the crop from the last weeks. First out are a number of posts about business model innovations.

Why are most Americans making their online payments through PayPal rather than through their Internet banks?

Why are most Americans making their online payments through PayPal rather than through their Internet banks? Of course, it is about understanding and respecting your customers and thinking long term. On a similar theme, the ideas of this post about explicating the difference between intended and experienced customer value when business modeling are worth taking to heart.

Last time I got some positive comments about the blog posts about the role of failure and experimentation in innovation. This is of course a crucial tool to be used also in business model innovation. Here is a new three post follow-up series since last time by LSE professor Donald Sull on exactly that topic. (And don’t miss his original, somewhat more philosophical, post about experimentation.)

What is the difference between business model innovation and strategy?

Do you need a different scorecard for evaluating business model innovation ideas than you use for your product innovations? Maybe. Here is one suggestion of such a scorecard.

Do you recognize the question: what is the difference between business model innovation and strategy? If that is not enough for you – check out this discussion at HBR. Often, I tend to rely on the distinction made by Osterwalder: that a business model is an operationalization of a strategy.

While on the topic of strategy, let me just briefly point you towards a couple of firm specific posts. Curious about what a Harvard Business scholar thinks about “Geely’s Volvo Gamble”? A lot of the most exciting innovation is taking place in the ICT sector. If you want to keep up with the continuous disruptions coming from the Valley, check out this post about Apple vs Google: The Next 10 Battles To Watch.

For anyone with access to back issues of HBR, I can recommend a classic article called “Innovation: the classic traps” which was actually mandatory literature in the first innovation course I took. It is written by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a full professor at Harvard School of Business. Today, instead of discussing common mistakes, she offers her advice on how a firm should handle the worst possible surprise – being disrupted by a competitor. In parallel, the Huffington Post predicts the next victim of disruption – today’s airline businesses!

…of all the hundreds of versions of the argument to go green profitably…

The second major theme this time around was green innovation and I noticed several blog posts that I think managers focused on top line growth might find interesting. I guess the best place to start is this fairly lengthy but accessible introduction to environmental economics by economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. A number of newspapers have carried the topic in different stories. Here is a piece about Fortune’s recent green brainstorming with a message that green is not about altruism but profit. And perhaps as to prove that some businesses believe that exact point, here is a piece about an IBM initiative in green education. However, of all the hundreds of versions of the argument to go green profitably (including, among others, strategy guru Michael Porter), I think I have found a new favorite: Over at HBR, Umair Haque gives a visionary – but definitely not entirely naïve – argument in “The Case for Being Disruptively Good”. (My intuition tells me that his case could perhaps even be argued for quite well academically by employing the framework of transaction cost economics.) We live in exciting times!

All that is fine and good, but the real question from a manager’s perspective is of course “how to do it?” For that, I think you should check out these three posts: Profiting by the Biosphere Rules (a voice recording), Sustainable business model innovation (a great text: unusually enough not focused on the value proposition and customer side of the business model, but on the capability and partnership aspects) and Avoiding Greenwash and Its Dangers (by Andrew Winston, the author of the popular management book Green to Gold).

Finally, as many of you know by now, I like to end these columns with something which I think will be of practical value in your daily life. This time around, I will be ambitious – or rather, I assume that you will indeed be ambitious. Here are 11 (!) related blog posts in a series on how to improve your creativity. And when you’re done, here are 10 ways to help your colleagues do the same (only one post).

Your comments are welcome!
Do you have any comments on the links presented here? Are some of them broken or not accessible from your network? Would you like more focus on peer-reviewed journals or more focus on pure blogs? Do you know of a blog post that you would like to see here next time? Feel free to send an email to marcus.linder@chalmers.se.

About Marcus Linder

Marcus LinderMarcus Linder researches environmental innovation among industrial firms at Chalmers University of Technology. Focus areas include strategic rationale and the practical how-to of including environmental aspects in the innovation process. An important starting point is that profitable environmental innovation often requires more than just “quick-fixing” a firm’s existing offers. Theoretically, Marcus is grounded in the problem-solving perspective on management, a subset of the knowledge-based view of the firm. In terms of applied innovation management, his main passion lies in business model design. He is currently employed as a PhD student at Center for Business Innovation at Chalmers University of Technology. Before starting his PhD studies, Marcus successfully performed a business innovation project at CBI culminating in a new product concept now planned for market introduction by Göteborg Energi.

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