Being a little bit jaded this morning, hearing people describe things that are commonplace as a source of competitive advantage (e.g. social media) and reading through a work which can be described as nothing but backwards causation (e.g. Company X did Y therefore Y must be right).
So, I bring you ... what things mean
We're being hit by disruptive innovation
Translation : the executives are currently being schooled.
Accuracy of translation : 90% or higher.
Likelihood of being heard : 80% or higher.
Most disruption occurs not through unpredictable market changes caused by innovation (being novel, new and uncertain) but instead the disruption is an entirely predictable market change which the company failed to plan for (e.g. cloud computing). The citing of disruptive innovation is often an exercise in covering corporate failure.
We're going to innovate!
Translation : the executives have recently been schooled and are getting desperate
Accuracy of translation : 95% or higher.
Likelihood of being heard : 90% or higher.
Innovation is both high risk and highly uncertain. This of course assumes we're talking about innovation, a novel and new act, and not the numerous sorts of things (a feature improvement, opening a new market, shifting a pre-existing product model to one of utility services) which are window dressed as innovation. When a company announces it's going to innovate its way out of trouble, the one thing you know is they've been completely played out of the market and are in real trouble. It's almost never pretty, this is last sip in the last chance saloon time.
Our culture let us down
Translation : the executives were schooled and are looking for someone else to blame
Accuracy of translation : 100% or higher (just for those people who like to use the term infinite inappropriately)
Likelihood of being heard : 100% or higher.
Culture isn't fixed but can be gamed and altered, in the same manner that inertia to change can be overcome. Culture is often used as a rearguard action to cover complete executive failure of strategy.
Our executive strategy failed.
Translation : we failed.
Accuracy of translation : Infinite % (see ... I can't resist the jibe)
Likelihood of being heard : 0% or less (actually, some are pretty honest about this in private though denial is also common).