By @SimonCocking review of A Manager’s guide to Disruptive Innovation: Why Great Companies Fail in the Face of Disruption and How to Make Sure Your Company Doesn’t by Philippe Silberzahn book available from Amazon here.

Somewhere, a startup is at work disrupting your business. What can you do about it? How can your company avoid the fate of once highly successful firms such as Kodak or Blockbuster? This book unravels the mechanisms of disruption, explains why great companies fail, and proposes concrete ways to turn disruptions into opportunities. Its key message is this: Failure in the face of disruption is not due to a lack of creativity, limited resources, or a resistance to change. Failure is the unintended consequence of applying “good” management practices. The solution to success lies in modifying these practices and this book will tell you how. An ideal introduction to the topic, A Manager’s Guide to Disruptive Innovation is packed with interesting case studies and anecdotes of organizations faced with disruptive innovation. This book offers you: • A deep insight into the workings of disruptive innovation • Actionable steps to protect and nurture disruptive projects • Practical suggestions to transform your company’s management practices to become more innovative.


This book was first written in French, but it has been translated well, and it raises relevant, interesting case studies. It is inspired and influenced by Clayton Christensen’s writings, which is a logical and compelling starting point. One thing that you begin to wonder, after you read more and more books that seek to understand innovation, is whether it is ever really possible for large organisations to successfully remain innovative. By this stage we’ve all heard the story of Kodak and Nokia retold several times over, and how they were overtaken by more dynamic and lightfooted companies. The Kodak story grows ever more interesting as they actually developed the product that ushered their downfall – the digital camera. However, for all the familiar reasons we have read about, there were too many limiting institutional factors that made it harder to innovate from within.

In this context you begin to wonder if it is fundamentally impossible for a large organisation to remain relevant for a long period of time. Of course with a statement like that you then quickly rack your brains to see what examples disprove this idea. However in many ways it is conceivable that the environmental and societal issues we face today often have a relationship to corporations seeking to prolong their existence, rather than what is best for humans. These may not be the answers this book is looking to provide, but it does make for an interesting and thought provoking read.

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