Innovation gurus slug it out with innovation gurus

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Traditional retail stores are shutting their doors as Internet outfits compete with new technology.

I was surprised to see an innovation guru openly challenging and criticising another innovation guru’s theories which she said were now outdated. The buzzword now is disruptive innovation, industry disruptions, reinvention, monetising data and economic models.

The main bone of contention it seems that previous innovation theories focused on innovation within businesses or companies and not so much from outside such as completely different industries. The prime example used is Uber in the taxi industry. But according to the gurus more “disruptive innovation” is on its way as outsiders to industries use technology such as computing or data processing and even robotics.

The problem is that even the new theories from the top academics put what is happening in little boxes. Theories propel seats at universities, consultants speak and media gossip. Outside forces whether they be warring armies or computer geeks have been around for a long time to rattle the cage of the established order. Erecting tollgates on superhighways is also nothing new and you can make money as long as you have the only roadway or if you offer a competitive advantage such as Uber does.

Yet you don’t need to be an innovation guru to see what is happening on the streets. People are using the Internet more to buy books and new and second-hand bookshops are shutting down. In Johannesburg an entire chain of music stores has disappeared in a year. Over the past two years just in a 10-kilometre radius from where I live 10 second-hand bookshops have gone to the wall. The traditional video shop is battling. More homes are disconnecting from the grid to be in energy independent or providing backups for unreliable energy supply from national grids.

It’s good to take these things into consideration when you come up with your new idea for a product or service. How long will your opportunity last? Even if you are running and owning a bed & breakfast, you may well find yourself being forced over a barrel to give a cut to some new smart operator (like Airbnb).

If you are sick and tired of buzzwords like “disruptive innovation”, “technology disruptions” hand at innovation gurus theories, but want a practical, hands-on approach to finding your own personal breakthrough, then put up your hand and get yourself a copy of “Breakthrough Ideas”, a guide to finding your own personal opportunity, out of the predatory eyes and jaws of “the new competitive threats” and that can take you where you want to go in life and business.

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