Driving Disruptive Innovation, with Whitney Johnson

Author, investor, and innovation expert Whitney Johnson joins us for the 23rd episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast to discuss how listeners can drive disruptive innovation in both their personal and professional lives. Whitney’s former business partner at Rose Park Advisors, Clayton Christensen, first put the concept of disruptive innovation on the map with his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

In this episode of the podcast, Whitney talks about the simple idea of disruptive innovators changing markets by occupying an otherwise untouched space or acting on unrecognized ideas to create something that does not already exist. She explains that not only do these principles apply to business, but to us as individuals as well, stating that if you want to be successful in unexpected ways, you have to follow your own disruptive path.

Whitney Johnson is the author of Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare & Dream, a book that offers powerful thoughts on how people can be their best selves and act on the courage of their convictions. Whitney is “an investor in stocks, people, concepts, and dreams,” a message she lives in her current position running her speaking/coaching organization carrying her name.

Prior to starting the company that bears her name, Whitney co-launched Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm with $75 million under management when she left in 2012. Whitney has also received awards for success on Wall Street as an equities analyst at Merrill Lynch. She is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, spoke at TedX earlier this year, and is Senior Advisor to the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. She was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “12 People to Follow on Twitter in 2012,” Business Insider’s “54 Smart Thinkers to Follow” and Huffington Post’s “100 Business, Leadership and Technology People to Follow on Twitter.” You can find her online at whitneyjohnson.com, and on Twitter at @johnsonwhitney.

Highlights from the episode include:

  • Her thoughts on the Jill Lepore article in the New Yorker that ran recently and criticized Clay Christensen’s theories about disruptive innovation, including why it provides an opportunity to revisit the theories and account for the anomalies Lepore raises
  • A clear definition of the widely used term “disruptive innovation,” and some of the challenges well known companies in different industries can face trying to defend themselves against companies trying to upend their markets
  • Some of the commonalities companies looking to disrupt markets with innovation have in common, as well as some of the decisions they have made throughout their process
  • Whitney discusses some of the financial gains companies who are looking to innovate can achieve by taking big risks to disrupt their markets
  • Whitney discusses innovation potential and explains some of the tools she has used in her long career to asses the innovation capacity of different companies in different markets

Interested in hearing more? Tune in to the full episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast using the Stitcher Radio widget below:

You can also download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on iTunes or tune in via the podcast’s home on Stitcher Radio to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.

Will Sherlin

Will Sherlin

Senior Manager of Digital Marketing

Will Sherlin is the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at 3Pillar Global. He oversees the 3Pillar website and other web properties, hosts 3Pillar’s ‘Innovation Engine’ podcast, and manages 3Pillar’s social media accounts. Prior to its acquisition by 3Pillar, Will was an Account Manager at PointAbout, a DC-based mobile app boutique that specialized in developing iPhone and iPad apps. He holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina.

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