The DNA of Disruptive Innovators
(iPhone) on top of an older computer business without the return
of Jobs? We doubt it.
The key point here is that large companies typically fail at dis-
ruptive innovation because the top management team is domi-
nated by individuals who have been selected for delivery skills, not
discovery skills. As a result, most executives at large organizations
don’t know how to think different. It isn’t something that they
learn within their company, and it certainly isn’t something they
are taught in business school. Business schools teach people how
to be deliverers, not discoverers.
For a moment, consider your company’s track record of re-
warding and promoting discovery skills. Does your company ac-
tively screen for people who have strong discovery skills? Does
your company regularly reward discovery skills through annual
performance assessments? If the answers are no, then it is likely
that a severe discovery skill deficit exists at the top ranks of man-
agement in your company.
You Can Learn to Think Different
In this chapter, we’ve tried to convince you that creativity is not a
just a genetic predisposition; it is an active endeavor. Apple’s slo-
gan “Think Different” is inspiring but incomplete. Innovators must
consistently act different to think different. We acknowledge that
genetics are at work within innovators, and that some have superior
natural ability at associational thinking. However, even if two indi-
viduals have the same genetic creative ability, one will be more suc-
cessful at creative problem solving if he or she more frequently engages
in the discovery skills we have identified. By understanding—and
engaging in—the five discovery skills, we believe that you can find
ways to more successfully develop the creative spark within your-
self and others. Read on as we describe how to master the five dis-
covery skills in order to become a more innovative thinker.