Most people in business are trained to focus only on problems: things that don’t work and need fixing. It’s more effective to start by identifying something in your business or industry that’s not necessarily a problem, and then go about methodically breaking it down using the following steps.
Luke proposes 3 steps:
- Define the domain you want to disrupt; this should be a domain where things have been stagnant for some time.
- Find the business clichés; figure out the assumptions that everyone in the industry makes.
- Start overturning those assumptions: ask "What would happen if we _ _ _ _ _ _ ?" where _ _ _ _ _ _ is something that the industry takes for granted.
Luke provides examples too:
Let’s look at the soda industry. Inverting “soda is inexpensive,” gives you “soda is expensive.” Reversing “tastes good” gives you “tastes terrible,” both of which sound completely ridiculous. But, you can’t break the clichés without going through this step, which is exactly what Red Bull did. It placed absolutely no importance on taste, the product is double the price of Coca-Cola, and it dispensed with marketing aspirational images. The message was that Red Bull may not necessarily make you feel happy, but it’ll definitely give you a shot of energy when you need it.
The article is worth a read (and maybe the book too).