Innovators dilemma and large companies

I have recently come to understand, appreciate but also taken back by the difficulty of innovating in larger organisations. This leads me nicely on to why I’m posting this short blog.

I came across the following quote from a book that I am currently reading by Clayton Christensen (The Innovators Dilemma):

The reason [for why great companies failed] is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies: listening to customers; tracking competitors actions carefully; and investing resources to design and build higher-performance, higher-quality products that will yield greater profit. These are the reasons why great firms stumbled or failed when confronted with disruptive technology change.

I am not on here to criticise, bad mouth companies or even claim to be an innovation expert but in a day of forever changing technology, I have come to understand why start-up companies have gained such high profile media attention. Start-ups have the ability to stay nimble and small enough to innovate on their products but they also have the vision to direct their products, this leads me on to the following question:

Even though larger companies talk about lean, start-up mentality/culture and Agile, is the above quote from Clayton Christensen right about innovation in larger companies?

From my experience (which is continually evolving), this is down to a combination of the company chasing the £ or $ but also their interpretation of what innovation truly is. I feel innovation is in the eyes and minds of the beholder, therefore I leave you with these questions and you may or may not be able to answer them but I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions:

  • Do companies struggle with this level of innovation or disruption because it was never a major problem 10/15/20 years ago?
    Maybe companies don’t see the need to innovate and they’re happy with small evolution changes
  • Is the pace of technology changing how innovation should be perceived at companies?
  • Do we as humans fall back to what we know and scared of failure?
    Do humans struggle to disrupt an industry because the amount of unknowns and uncertainty involved?
    Have the likes of Instagram, Uber, AirBnB, Whatsapp, Tesla, Wix, Atlassian change the world that we know?