Innovation Requires Both Challengers And Defenders. Which Are You?

23 September, 2016 / Articles
fernando fischmann

When most people hear the word “innovation,” they think of brilliant trailblazers who challenge the way we view products or services. But that’s only half of what it takes for most companies to generate the kind of game-changing growth associated with innovation.

Today’s most successful companies also need leaders who can defend their hard-won turf against clever new startups and fast-moving rivals. It’s the balance of challengers and defenders that helps leading companies to grow sales at speeds that unnerve competitors while delighting customers.

In an article for strategy+business called “Diagnosing Dislocation,“ six industries were examined in which disruptive startups or existing players have upended traditional thinking by attacking from the bottom, middle or top of the market. The most successful companies were found to benefit from bold new approaches as well as flawless execution of processes that transform customers into evangelists.

The problem is that while virtually all business managers recognize the importance of innovation, very few can simultaneously rock the boat as challengers while sailing at full-speed ahead as defenders.  Those tasks reflect very different talents. Very few managers master both, yet both are needed to dislocate industries.

Recognizing your strengths and those of your colleagues will help both you and your company. On a personal level, it will help you choose the career path where you’ll derive the maximum satisfaction from your work. Meanwhile, you’ll help your company to grow faster by doing what you do best.

Are you a challenger or a defender? Find out with this quick, nine-question quiz. The results may surprise you. Either way, you’ll find out how you to apply your strength while helping your company achieve the fast growth we associate with innovation.

The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.

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