Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

No Mention Of Innovation At TC Disrupt?

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 11, 2014

This week at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference, it seems that "innovation" has been lost in a discussion about disruptive companies.

John Biggs reported:

Investment bankers Bill Hambrecht and Clayton Christensen took to the Disrupt SF stage today to defend the concepts of disruption and to address the ways the Valley predicted the future of financial services and technology.

"'Disruption' is, at its core, a really powerful idea," [Christensen] said. "Everyone hijacks the idea to do whatever they want now. It's the same way people hijacked the word 'paradigm' to justify lame things they're trying to sell to mankind.

"The Original Disruptor, Clayton Christensen, And VC Bill Hambrecht Talk About The Theory Of Disruption | TechCrunch

There wasn't a single mention of innovation in the article. I wonder if it was mentioned at all during the discussion. 

A disruptive company has to be innovative and vice versa. Disruption is the chief characteristic of true innovation otherwise it is an incremental improvement, and that's not enough to shift markets. 

Is "disruptive" now the way we say "innovative?" That doesn't make sense. A bomb is disruptive but it's certainly not innovative. Disruption is a quality of innovation but it is not the thing itself. 

Interestingly, in the discussion above,  Christensen said, "It's not really clear to me that Uber is disruptive." A diplomatic assessment of the poster-boy startup of the "sharing economy" valued at $18 billion.

Uber's disruption of the taxi trade is reliant on lower driver costs by avoiding regulatory and operational business costs such as insurance. That's not innovative but it's certainly illegal in most cities.  

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