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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 08/17/2011

Big ideas: Disruptive innovation and the patent war


Paint can and brush sit on a deck. (iStock Photo - iStock Photo)
Good morning.

Rather than focusing on one thing we have seen on the Web today, we decided to focus on two popular reads that we’ve come across. The first focuses on disruptive innovation, while the second drops a bomb on the ongoing patent wars.

Disruption:

...disruption for disruption’s sake is just annoying.

If you’re a frequent reader of innovation-oriented content, you have probably heard a great deal about disruptive innovation, which, as the name suggests, is the act of a simple application taking root and rising up in the marketplace to displace established competitors. Frog Design fellow Luke Williams wrote part two of a three-part series on the concept for Fast Co. Design on Tuesday. In it, Williams offers some fundamental tips.

Companies such as the travel site Airbnb have been described as disruptive, since they use a simple platform that, very soon after its founding, stood to challenge leading hotel brands like Hilton. But an Airbnb doesn’t come along every day, even as existing companies and productmakers are looking for ways to change the game in their particular sector.

Williams advises that rather than think big and try to take on the Hiltons of the world, aspiring disruptive innovators should think small. In other words, identify the “tension points” in a consumer’s experience not the “pain points.” Williams writes:

Being truly insightful involves immersing yourself into the world of your customers to try to see how things look from their viewpoint. The focus is on watching, not on talking. Start by looking at the real-world context your hypotheses will exist in. Who lives there now? What do they need? What motivates them? It’s all about using customer insights to translate your hypotheses into actionable opportunities.

Williams cites Dutch Boy Paint’s creation of the twist-and-pour paint can lid. Think about how long we have accepted paint as coming out of cans we have to open with screwdrivers? Have you successfully practiced disruptive innovation? If so, tell us about it in the comments. But, before you do, it may be worth reading the next piece that caught our eye.

(Fast Company)

The patent wars:

...while the patent Cold War continues to heat up, weep for the real casualty: innovation.

Until recently, the story of how companies are acquiring patents to preserve and expand their market share and penalize infringers to meet their bottom line, has been a relatively quiet one.


Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility Sanjay Jha speaks during a press event at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. (Ethan Miller - GETTY IMAGES)
Those days are over, as larger and larger companies acquire one another for access to their patent databases. This has prompted a number of critiques of the U.S. patent system. And the most notable criticism Tuesday came from Gizmodo’s senior editor Brian Barrett.

The lawsuits that Apple and HTC and Samsung and Nokia and everyone else with skin in the mobile game are throwing at each other, though? Those are dangerous. They're dangerous because Apple doesn't want cash; they've got more than the entire U.S. government. Neither does anyone else, really. What they're all gunning for is market advantage. Which, in the most extreme case, means pulling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 off EU and Aussie shelves altogether. They're not playing Monopoly anymore. They're playing Highlander.

Barrett goes on to argue that this epic battle is not only hurting the large companies involved, but suffocating small start-ups and denying consumers the latest, greatest gadget.

(Gizmodo)

Read more on innovation:

Is U.S. innovation experiencing death by patent?

Airbnb and disruptive innovation

Faster Forward | Google agrees to acquire Motorola Mobility

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 08/17/2011

Categories:  Business, Morning Read, Technology

 
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