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Two strategies for innovating in the face of market disruption

Brian Leavy (Dublin City University)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




This Masterclass considers the lessons of two recent important books have contrasting but complementary insights to offer to company leaders and strategists on how to improve the odds for developing successful innovations in response to game changes in markets.”


In Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future (2017), disruptive innovation experts, Scott Anthony, Clark Gilbert and Mark Johnson offer corporate leaders a “dual transformation” template for simultaneously repositioning the traditional core business in the face of disruptive change, while also creating new businesses to harness the growth potential typically unlocked by such disruption. In The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation (2017), innovation guru, David Robertson, and his collaborator, Kent Lineback, offer companies a “third way” for coping with historic market inflections by innovating around a core product to make it more compelling, rather than having to choose between attempting the radical or incremental innovation of the product itself.


The most powerful message that both books featured in this masterclass have to offer is that while it may be true, as they go on to observe, that large companies can’t innovate faster than the market, they can learn “to innovate better than the market,” through more imaginative use of legacy products, platforms and assets.

Practical implications

A “third way” to cope with market disruption is based on innovating around the core product, by surrounding it with a set of complementary innovations, rather than re-featuring the product itself. All of the complementary innovations operate together with the product “as a system or family to satisfy a compelling promise to the customer.”


Both Dual Transformation and The Power of Little Ideas, present different, but far from mutually exclusive, innovation strategies that can help many more great companies to survive disruptive competition.



Leavy, B. (2017), "Two strategies for innovating in the face of market disruption", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 9-18.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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