Creative Destruction. This is the term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 to define the process of innovation. He said that it was the "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

As sales professionals we inherently understand about innovation, or at least we really should do. Innovation drives competition by enabling new entrants into markets and is critical to any company’s survival. Stand still and your competitors will innovate around you and you will soon be out of business. Innovate around your own products and services and you can stay ahead of your competition, but it is really hard to do as all of your instincts tell you to preserve your existing revenue streams.

The process of Creative Destruction is fundamental to the future of any business. There are thousands of companies that have fallen to the ‘young upstarts’ over the years – they’ve been too afraid to cannibalise their own revenues only to then find that someone else does it for them.

What has this got to do with Well, I recently finished a Business Degree with the Open University – First Class Honours thank you very much. I didn’t get a degree when I was younger and decided that this was something I needed to rectify. I really enjoyed it. From the very first course – where Schumpeter was introduced to me – I learnt a considerable amount. I was particularly interested in the process of innovation – whether that is product innovation, such as the iPod or iPhone, or process innovation with Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing if you prefer), I found it all totally fascinating.

In the final year of my six-year course (you could do it faster, but with a family and job it would be impossible) I took a course called ‘Innovation - Designing for Change’.  The course studied the process of innovation in some detail, to the point where you had to invent something during the course and write about your experiences. You couldn’t pass if you didn’t invent something, and you couldn’t invent something without following the process.  But no, this isn't when I came up with the idea for

The first part of the innovation process is to identify something that frustrates and/or annoys you. Once you have identified something then you need to consider all the possible ways that you can solve that particular issue, evaluate all of them so that you come up with the best solution.  For my degree we had to do something in the area of sustainability and my focus was around reducing household food waste. The invention itself didn’t become reality (yet!), but the lessons from this course certainly did. 

Moving forward a few years and it was time to create a Strategic Account Plan for my customer for review by my management.  I hate doing Org Charts. Powerpoint is the only tool we have and it is rubbish at them. Drawing boxes, typing in names, drawing lines between them all, re-arranging, aligning, re-arranging again, etc. drives me bonkers. If only there was a better way. Oh, hello……



Then, the hard work began!! Interested to know what happened next? Read this blog post:

The Novice and the Indian App Developer