Clayten Christensen is fond of quoting ice skating legend Wayne Gretzky, who apparently attributed his luck with the puck to “Skating to where the puck is going, not where it is”. In other words Gretzky watched the pattern of the game being played and felt confident to predict the probability of the puck’s movement, spilling out from a pack of skaters.
Christensen uses this as a metaphor for spotting opportunities for innovation in business, and of course specifically to explain why some people see an opportunity for a (potentially) disruptive innovation where other people presumably see… zip.
This metaphor has stuck in my mind ever since hearing Christensen explain it a few years ago. When you truly start to focus on the challenge of implementing a ‘disruptive strategy’, all sorts of strange things start to happen. Firstly, you instinctively begin to disassociate yourself from the status quo, because the herd can not by definition be following the same scent as you, can they? No.. they are skating to where the puck is… and there they are, as plain as day, reveling in it.
But you don’t want to go where these guys are going, because the laugh you want is the last one… and you know that it is like a science. Its a discipline. It’s achievable.