In the current issue of Portfolio magazine, former Intel CEO Andy Grove suggests that corporate behemoths - sometimes, but not always - may be better suited to disruptive innovation than smaller, more nimble upstarts:
"In my position as a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, I’ve been working with my colleague Professor Robert Burgelman to examine how large companies can defeat the law of big numbers. Successful businesses sooner or later encounter a situation in which the reward for their success becomes a punishment of sorts. The reward is that they get big. The punishment is that when they get big, it gets harder and harder for them to grow. And then their investors pile on the abuse.
In looking at various companies that have been hindered by their own success, we found that under certain conditions a firm can create a new growth spurt for itself by entering an entirely different industry. The target industry must be stagnant and populated with companies that cling to doing business the way they always have. The corporation that enters this environment with an innovative product or service can shake up the status quo and reap big profits. Burgelman and I call this phenomenon cross-boundary disruption, or XBD for short."
According to Grove, companies like Apple have already discovered cross-boundary disruption, while Wal-Mart and GE could be on the cusp of new disruptive innovation by exploring industries like healthcare and energy.
[image: Andy Grove]