Leonardo Da Vinci & The Origins Of Disruptive Innovation

Posted by Michael Lindberg on May 30, 2017 8:48:17 AM

origins of disruptive innovation

Renaissance Man 

One of the main things the renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci did was to challenge the orthodox thinking. He constantly asked skeptical questions and challenged deeply entrenched beliefs that had long been taken for granted. This has made him probably the most important inventor of all times and the father of disruptive innovation.


Don’t believe that da Vinci’s radical ideas and innovations came out of the blue. No, he was indeed a curious person. Just think about the 13,000 pages of his famous journals, in which he made a daily record of his observations and studies. These observations made it possible for him to think about and at least try to solve problems that nobody had been seriously considering before. Nobody was asking for a parachute, a car, a submarine, a hang glider, a diving suit, a helicopter or a calculator, and yet, Leonardo da Vinci invented, or at least conceptualized, these things.


How was it even possible to come up with such “crazy” ideas so many centuries ago? Because da Vinci was able to spot unmet needs and innovation opportunities since he was more observant and more engaged with his environment than others. He had a strong urge to constantly develop deep insights into all kinds of phenomena and to use the knowledge to solve problems and address needs in completely new ways. And it certainly paid off.

Find The Da Vinci In You

You can do the same. You need to regularly engage in activities that awaken your curiosity by exposing yourself to new trends, impressions and perspectives. You can do so by talking with people from different industries, other countries and various levels of your organization. Or how about visiting new and out of-the-ordinary places and why not follow new fashions in clothing, music and movies to mention a few? There are certainly plenty of ways to get your finger on the pulse of change and this will help you understand the latent needs that your customers can’t articulate. So don’t ask them what they want, ask them about their problems, frustrations and challenges as a great way to see the world through the eyes of your customers.


How important is that? Extremely important and here is why. If there were one universal law of innovation, it would be this: Powerful new ideas are never simply snatched out of the air. There is no way you can come up with breakthrough ideas without the right kinds of insights - the output is dependent on the input. So investing time and money in innovation without a rich portfolio of insights is more often than not a fruitless exercise. Because without, how can you challenge orthodoxies and propose often seemingly crazy alternatives which, after all, is one of the fundamental driving forces for true innovation? The answer is: You can’t.

How To Detect Opportunities

You want to learn about a shortcut to these powerful insights? We have developed a tool called OpportunityDetectorTM that not only identifies your market’s problems, frustrations and challenges, it also ranks them in terms of impact and frequency. Knowing this will make it so much easier for you to come up with that amazing idea that has the ability to perhaps even disrupt your market and leave your competitors behind. 

Download Free eBook


Based on this concept we have launched a new mini eBook that we are offering as a free download. The eBook will help you better understand your target group's explicit and implicit motivations, and explain how this insight can be turned into innovation. Please click on the link above to download. 


Topics: Change