Ask the Expert

Disruptive innovators for the enterprise

I read a recent article about disruptive innovators. Career expert Jon Reed said he saw this role as an opportunity to Project Managers and above, as a higher company status equals more leverage to implement changes. What is your take this role? Do you think there is a bright future for disruptive innovators, and what kind of skills should one focus on?

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I think disruptive innovators have always existed, though few have been given the kinds of tools that SAP proposes to give them, much less the corporate go-ahead to be the kind of maverick that the role implies. I think historically, more often than not, the best disruptive innovators have taken their entrepreneurial mindset and left the enterprise to work in or create new start-up companies.

What is exciting, and what will be the true test of the concept and the opportunity that SAP is presenting, is to see how well corporate management will succeed in corralling this talent and putting it to work inside the enterprise instead of outside. My guess is the given the right corporate mindset, SAP could play a role in unleashing a wave of talent that will have a profound effect on how companies innovate and grow in the coming years.

This was first published in November 2006

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