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Leadership Biz Cafe Podcast #17 – Whitney Johnson On Using Disruptive Innovation To Drive Growth


When it comes to disruptive innovation, the common and natural tendency is to view it from the lens of organizational growth and evolution. But can the power of disruptive innovation also be applied at the individual level to drive personal success and growth, and if so, how exactly do we go about doing that? It’s the question that serves as the guiding focus of my talk with management thinker, writer, and author, Whitney Johnson.

Whitney is the co-founder of Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm she co-founded with renowned innovation thinker Clayton Christensen. She’s also a former award-winning Wall Street analyst and this year she was a finalist in the Best in Talent Category for the Management Thinkers50.

In addition to writing for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedInfluencer, Whitney’s work has been featured in Fast Company, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, and several other media outlets.

Whitney is also the author of two books, the first being “Dare, Dream, Do” and her latest being “Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work”, which is also the focus of this episode’s discussion.

Over the course of this episode, Whitney and I touch on a number of fascinating and personal insights that she shares in her latest book, including:

  • Understanding what is our distinctive strength and how we can tap into it to drive our professional and organizational growth.
  • How the compliments we receive from others can reveal our path to growth and success.
  • A look at which kind of risk is the key to tapping into the growth and success opportunities often cited in disruptive innovation models.
  • Why constraints are actually beneficial and not a hindrance to our ability to disrupt ourselves, and our perception of what can be done and what opportunities are there to fuel our growth and success.
  • How to leverage failure as a source of feedback to help us chart the best course to achieve success.
  • The “innovation killer” that many of us get caught up in and how it impedes our ability to learn and grow.

It’s definitely a fun and frank conversation between Whitney and myself – in fact, she even shares an illuminating personal story that really helps us to understand how she learned to make constraints a valuable source of feedback, so be sure to check out that “scoop” found only on this episode of my show.

As I mentioned at the end of this episode, I’d love to hear what you think about this episode, as well as what other topics you’d be interested in hearing more about in upcoming episodes of my show. Please share your thoughts and ideas by leaving a comment below or by filling out the contact form on my website.

I’d also appreciate it if you could rate my show on Stitcher Radio or iTunes to help support future episodes of my leadership podcast.

Click on the player below to listen to the podcast:

[Running time: 47 minutes]

Noteworthy links:

  • Buy Whitney Johnson’s book “Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work” on (or for Canadian readers).
  • Learn more about Whitney’s work and her writings at

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