King Solomon’s Disruptive Innovation Theory

King Solomon’s Disruptive Innovation Theory

Hey Blockbuster, Borders, IBM, MySpace, and General Motors: King Solomon is disappointed in you.

There’s a conspicuous characteristic that link each of these companies to an infamous category. Can you guess it? Each of these companies held a dominant market share in their respective categories. Then, they collapsed. In the blink of an eye, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Honda overtook the once proud brands and became consumer favorites.

So what’s the reason behind this David and Goliath kind of story? It’s called disruptive innovation. And it’s happening every day. Famously defined by Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of disruptive innovation, you need to be. Right away. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up Christensen’s book if I were you. The advancement of technology has dramatically accelerated the speed of innovation and chances are someone is already out there trying to disrupt your business. Seriously. Just ask the guys at Blockbuster.

Someone is trying to steal your job, your customers, your market share, and anything else that makes you money. It’s not because they are mean. It’s because they have an idea and a dream too, and that dream just happens to be a better way to do your job. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to know what to do about it.

The Real Inventor of Disruptive Innovation

Christensen is awarded with coining the term disruptive innovation. And honestly, I think it’s brilliant. But in reality King Soloman noted this age old phenomenon thousands of years ago. It’s called, “Don’t be lazy.” And it’s in the book of Proverbs.

When we think of laziness we tend to picture a couch potato dozing off in front of the TV while yard work needs to be done outside. Although that is definitely lazy, I’m afraid our concept of lazy has become too narrow. I think when the book of Proverbs talks about this concept it has a lot more in mind than just sleeping through your chores and avoiding manual work whenever possible.

You see, there’s also a spirit of laziness that can eat away at your business. A combination of laziness and arrogance is what dethroned companies like Blockbuster and Borders. These companies failed to respect the powerful forces of disruptive innovation. They were lazy in their pursuit of disruption.

Proverbs 19:15 says “Lazy people sleep soundly, but idleness leaves them hungry.” Meanwhile Proverbs 12:24 says “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” There are dozens of verses just like this in Proverbs. King Solomon knew what he was talking about. Warnings against idleness and laziness, when applied to innovation, remind us that you must be proactive to avoid being disrupted. When you sit back and become comfortable (lazy) with where you are at in your job or business, disruption will sneak up on you and leave you dazed and confused.

How to Avoid Being Disrupted

Blockbuster was lazy in their business model. They didn’t express daily diligence to continually test their business model and proactively seek out their biggest threat: innovation. No one was going to beat Blockbuster at their own game. The only way Blockbuster was going to be defeated is if someone changed the game completely on them. And that’s exactly what Netflix did.

You need to disrupt your business before someone else does. Sleep soundly and your idleness will leave you hungry. Be lazy and you’ll become a slave to a dying industry. Know that disruption is a natural market force that will inevitably fall upon your business or career. Prepare for it with King Solomon’s age old advice: hard work and a thorough rejection of laziness in mind, body, and spirit.

I’m always trying to put myself out of business. I look for opportunities that will make my job irrelevant and my business obsolete. It’s a scary thing to try and make yourself irrelevant, but in the end this process makes you stronger and more valuable than you could have ever imagined. Do it today before someone else does.

  • What other companies can you think of that were victims of a disruptive innovation?
  • How can you introduce a culture of disruptive innovation in your business or career?
  • Are there areas of your life that have grown stale and need to be disrupted? Pray the Proverbs shared in this post and ask God to reveal to you how a broader understanding of laziness can impact your mind, body, spirit, and business.