Google Docs — a disruptive innovation? (Chapter 6 of the book)

To start our seminars on disruptive innovations, we use the example of Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office. We provide participants with some background info on Google Docs and then put them into the role of Steve Ballmer. How should he react to the threat (or is it really a threat?) of Google Docs? We have this discussion even before we get into the theory of disruptive innovation. Typically, the participants raise many relevant points (e.g. resource dependence, fear of cannibalization, etc.) already at that point. Here you can find the slides to kick off this exercise.  There is also a video on Slate that helps to give a little background information on Power Point and Google Docs.

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2 Responses to “Google Docs — a disruptive innovation? (Chapter 6 of the book)”


  1. 1 Alain October 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Opening cases are a good idea to stimulate creative thinking in this field.

    There is a typo on slide 2. The quote from Denson should read “choose” rather than “chose.”

    It seems that disruptive innovation works for major companies in a dynamic industry. Are there examples for its application to small companies?

  2. 2 strategiesforebusiness October 28, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Alain,
    Thanks for your message. When I teach this material, I also use the example of bab.la, an online dictionary site that offers free translation. The company actually only has about 10-15 employees. In the mid-term bab.la might threaten established dictionary providers such as Langenscheidt, Collins, etc. This also makes for a very interesting discussion since dictionaries are a very tangible product.


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