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DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION definition – is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.(Wikipedia)

It’s not entirely surprising that research on what makes innovators innovative shows that they think differently than the average person. They have unorthodox ways of processing information and approaching problems, making them ideal candidates for driving disruptive innovation in any environment.

The fact that this type of unique thinking doesn’t come naturally to everyone can be frustrating for organisations focused on continuous innovation. But practice makes perfect — here are 5 skills you need to become the disruptive innovator you’ve always wanted to be.

1. To Bridge the Gap(s)

Innovators have an innate ability to connect concepts that aren’t typically related, which allows them to develop original ideas, and affects their behavior when executing those ideas. After absorbing various team perspectives, potential project risks, market needs, and other innovation elements, innovators naturally associate previously unconnected components, which spawns unique solutions. Promote this kind of out-of-the-box thinking with visual approaches like mind mapping, which allows a team to see every piece of a project at once.

2. To Fearlessly Question

Innovators ask tons of questions, and they ask them of anyone and everyone who can help them better understand needs, goals, challenges, and resources. More importantly, they try to justify the purpose behind actions — they’ll get to how things are done later. First, they want to know why something’s happening at all. It can certainly cause discomfort for anyone who shies away from transparency, but keeping people honest about their intentions and progress ensures open communication, which is critical to innovation success.

3. To Diligently Pay Attention

Innovators are masters at paying attention to detail; it’s what gives them the fodder for asking the aforementioned poignant questions. They typically remember who said what, what they said it in response to, and the challenges associated with every discussion point for the project. Because of their killer ability to connect unrelated concepts, this scrutiny also lets them accurately predict possibilities and issues that may arise down the road. Not blessed with a photographic memory? Become one with note-taking, voice memos, calendar reminders, and confirmation emails.

4. To Not Hate Networking

Lots of people cringe when they hear the word “networking” — though it’s necessary to be ahead of the game in today’s business culture, it also conjures up images of awkward conversations, cheap wine, and wince-worthy self-promotion. But disruptive innovators get over the discomfort quickly, because they understand that talking to other people is one of the simplest and best ways to gain new perspectives, open up new avenues of thought, and get inspired about applying different tactics and strategies to existing problems. Networking helps us learn from other people’s failures and successes, shape ideas through conversation, and gain new insight.

5. To Try, Try Again

Innovators consider everything they do to be an experiment, and believe that any lesson learned to be essential to their own progress. Failure and success are equally important, and neither scares them off. The disruptive innovator takes everything that they have learned and apply it to future endeavors to make sure they lose the failure but keep the learning.

All entrepreneurs should strive to be disruptive innovators – it is, essentially, taking entrepreneurship to the next level.  Honing the skills above will take entrepreneurs a long way to becoming disruptive innovators in their industry.