What Nail Polish, Middle Fingers & Manny Pacquioa have to do with Corporate Innovation…

I included a short excerpt reviewing Christensen’s theories on innovation recently… specifically why it is critical to frame the problem correctly, and added a little color commentary of my own in bold… on how not to go out like a corporate Pacquioa.

Christensen believes the root cause for the inability to innovate is not framing the problem correctly.

Companies do not understand what is happening with these new technologies…

More specifically, they don’t understand how the adoption of these technologies is changing their customers.

Companies fail to see the weight of the impact of technology on our habits, our behaviors and our eventual long-term needs & motivators for tomorrow that didn’t exist in our decision-making processes yesterday.

 Expensive failure always results when disruption is framed as simply technological rather than business model terms… or in terms that stress the disruption as a “job” customers are hiring your product to do.

There’s a tendency to view market competition through a technology-only lens, which leads to every big company examining simply the new technology, not the assumptions behind its existence. They simply take note of its face-value inferiority to what current leaders offer.

And it then becomes all too easy to immediately dismiss it.

That’s the mistake.

Companies should think in terms of customer context… customer impact… the job being done for the customer by the disruption arriving on its industry’s doorstep.

Otherwise it’s like a group of idiots being so intently focused on critiquing another company’s theoretical shade of nail polish, let’s say for the sake of a terrible example, that they completely miss the fact that hand, with the ugly nail polish, is actually flipping them the F-U bird… while the other hand warms for a sucker-punch to the face ending in lights out, Pacquioa-style ‘ya don’t have to go home, but ‘cha can’t stay here…’ defeat.


With the cold mat of a blue boxing ring pressed up to any company’s face… and blood filling their mouths… its a lot more difficult to go out fighting like the champ they once were & deserve a shot at continuing to be.

Lesson being: Don’t focus on the inferior technology… but instead the assumptions & job being done for the customer that is behind its existence.


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