Regular readers will know that I have been focussed on disruption as a phenomenon where successful firms fail precisely because they pursue the good strategies that made them successful in the first place. My forthcoming book deals exclusively with that issue.
But there is a group of people — mostly outside of academia — who consider themselves disruption theorists. They too think that the term ‘disruption’ got out of hand but they argue that disruption theory is more than a tool for dealing with the research question posed in Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. Indeed, they argue that disruption theory can predict when a disruptor will be successful.
One of my goals is to ensure that people don’t end up arguing when they are actually somewhat at cross-purposes. So an acceptable view of my book is to argue that it is too limiting in what it considers disruption. The broader view is that companies can actually pursue disruption as an innovative or commercialisation path. What does that mean? Again, different people will have different views but I thought that Michael Raynor put forward a coherent perspective. I am not sure I agree with it but I thought it was worthwhile to promote it as being worth your attention if you are interested in these things. Here is Raynor on the a16z podcast:
I am not sure about the predictive power of the theory Raynor puts forward but that is a topic for another time. For the moment, I want to highlight it as a theory capable of empirical analysis and certainly a theory that is influential.