Disruption and innovation may seem like strange bedfellows, but as I’ve recently discovered in my Strategies for Growth unit, they’re key themes when it comes to implementing groundbreaking change.
Let’s start with the disruption part. It turns out this really begins in earnest with the process of ideation. Intriguingly, the key is to forget everything you’ve done before and willingly enter what’s known as a Design Thinker phase. Extending beyond mere brainstorming, this phase breaks us out of the status quo and gets us asking the most important question of all: ‘what if?’
It’s with respect to this question that the course’s interactive component perhaps offered its greatest benefit. Indeed, what better way to appreciate the possibilities than having access to a panel of three prominent entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs with plenty of disruption and innovation experience? In our case, we were highly fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from Wes Sonnenreich (former start-up founder and Head of Deloitte Innovation in Australia and current CEO of Intersective), Adam Theobald (University of Sydney Business School graduate and CEO and Founder of Beat the Q), and Steve Cadigan (former Head of HR for LinkedIn and current start-up advisor).
Throughout the rest of the course we also utilised concepts like Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, blue-ocean strategy, open innovation strategies and crowdsourcing to look at case studies of existing businesses as well as examine ways to implement disruption to seize untapped markets and make better use of existing ones. The last phase of the subject dealt with the implementation of these ideas and models. Part of this process involved working on a live case-study project with the CSIRO and the development of their strategic 2025 plan.
In my entire academic career, I can honestly say I’ve never been so energised, engaged and excited by a university course. This subject has facilitated an important value-add to my business toolbox that will hopefully propel my career to the next level.