Disruption and innovation, two overused words in business albeit overused for good reason. Innovation is the holy grail, the vehicle in which disruption uses to smash into the building of a likely stagnant industry like a wrecking ball. We can disrupt an industry with a new product or service and gatecrash a market leader’s party or we can cannibalize our own market leading product or service the way companies like Apple do. Market leaders like Apple do this because they know if they don’t, someone else will. Businesses and their collective teams are constantly scrambling to discover the next innovation that is likely to disrupt their industry and increase its market share. I am here to tell you that YOU can be the biggest disruptive innovation in your industry. So what the hell am I going on about? I am talking about investing in yourself to become the best in the world at what you do. Warren Buffett, arguably the greatest investor in the world said “Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far”
I am currently far from being the best in the world at what I do and that excites me! It excites me because I have been investing in myself every day for many years and while I am still a long way away from that goal, I look back on the journey and marvel at how much I’ve learned. I am constantly evolving through studying and self-improvement. When you ‘stay stupid’ and humble you have this insatiable appetite for knowledge and upskilling, impelling you to ‘innovate yourself’ everyday. The very practice of innovating yourself; consuming knowledge in your field every day, is what can lead to disruptive innovation in your business or industry.
A few tips to become your own disruptive innovation
Listen to your audience – Constantly have your ear to the ground listening to what your consumer is saying. Make a goal of knowing your consumer better than they know themselves by practicing the art of listening. Become an expert on your consumer.
Become a voracious reader/watcher – Before the turn of the 21st century books would be your go to… These days the internet provides an endless flow of information in the form of articles and lets not forget the number one media on the internet, video! A single search on Google or Youtube will surely provide you with plenty of knowledge and resources in your field.
Find mentors – Identify people further along in a similar journey and reach out to them. People are more generous with their time than you think when it comes to the gentle ego stroking of mentorship, especially when you work out a way to reciprocate and offer value back to them. Don’t just find interactive mentors, identify people who are the best in the world in your space and model them. Learn about their journey, where they failed and where they succeeded.
Don’t just focus on industry – It’s easy to get caught up focusing only on developing yourself in relation to your industry but there is much more to it. There is so much stuff outside the bubble that affects what goes on inside the bubble. If you haven’t heard the cliches ‘mind body spirit’ and ‘work life balance’, do a Google search and be prepared to be overwhelmed with information overload. These things are cliches for a reason.
Lastly, ask yourself the question every day: How did I improve myself today and have I become better at what I do?
I know the first excuse you are going to make is that you don’t have time but you heard it from Warren Buffett himself… This is the best investment you can make. If you are really time-poor, practice the productivity tool of Minimum Daily Action to remove the excuse of time. Constantly arm yourself with knowledge and skills so that you can be your own disruptive innovation but don’t forget to execute! Knowledge is useless unless followed by execution.