Ten common patterns of companies


that successfully manage very innovative

and disruptive projects


What can we learn from them?



By Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


A highly innovative and disruptive project is dynamic, changing, contain new features or approaches and is built incrementally. It is possible that nobody has even worked on it before, but it has the potential to completely transform the market and the way of life that has been known up to that point.

Analyzing and deconstructing different examples of companies managing innovative projects successfully, the author has identified ten common patterns that can provide a solid guide to effectively manage such dynamic disruptive innovation projects and contribute to make them come true.


In a world in constant change and evolution, there are two phrases that resonate strongly in innovative projects and, most especially, in those that aim to be disruptive and change the market environment:

    • “If you don’t make any mistakes, you are either not doing anything (not innovating) or you are going too slow.”
    • “If you’re going to fail, fail fast.”

I am sure that you have heard them as they represent well the environment in which very innovative, disruptive projects or those in early stages of development move.

Disruptive projects are initiatives that introduce groundbreaking and often unexpected changes to an industry, market, or sector. These projects can redefine the status quo, challenge existing norms, and create entirely new paradigms.

These projects are usually driven by innovative ideas, technologies, or approaches that have the potential to reshape industries and transform the way people live, work, and do business. They combine innovation and market transformation.

Ten common patterns of companies that successfully manage very innovative and disruptive projects.

After analyzing and deconstructing different companies and transformation projects, I have come to the conclusion that there are some common patterns that companies apply to successfully manage these highly innovative and disruptive projects; what can we learn from them?

    1. Small project, small team, and controlled environment at all times

A small project is created apart from the core business led by a small team of people to test concepts, test small-scale functionalities, learn, make modifications in a controlled environment, and evaluate the feasibility for potential future expansion.

Three very important elements can be extracted from this:

    • Small project compared to the main business.
    • Small multidisciplinary team with key people.
    • Ideas, tests, and developments in a controlled environment.

Apple’s development of the iPhone is an example of this approach to project management.


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How to cite this work: Ancizu, M. (2023).  Ten common patterns of companies that successfully manage very innovative and disruptive projects. What can we learn from them? commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Ancizu-ten-common-patterns-of-companies.pdf

About the Author

Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


Human leadership, Global Sustainable Projects, Renewable energy, Story-teller, Keynote speaker, Lifetime learner, Risk management, Standardization

Manuel Ancizu is passionate about human leadership, sustainable projects and people’s motivations. Enjoys working in international multicultural environments and wants to have a positive impact in society.

Manuel graduated in Economics from University of Navarra and obtained an MBA from IESE Business School (Spain); he has also studied in CEIBS (China) and University Anahuac del Sur (Mexico). He holds a number of professional certificates such as the PMP by Project Management Institute, Lead Auditor in ISO 9001:2015 by IRCA Association and has also received training in Management of Development Projects and Risk Management by Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

Manuel has lived in Spain, France, UK and Mexico; he currently works in the wind energy sector leading the quality management of Offshore projects. Manuel has been involved in wind energy renewable projects developed in different parts of the globe with external customers, as well as in internal projects of cultural transformation, IT and global processes.

Thanks to his experience, he has delivered training sessions, lectures and keynotes to a different number of institutions.

Manuel is a qualified member of the Spanish Standardization Body (UNE) and has been involved in the development of Standards and Norms in Projects, Programs and Portfolios; he has also participated in the translation of different ISO 21500 to Spanish language.

Manuel loves smiling, storytelling, dreaming and making ideas come true in a sustainable manner.

Manuel lives in Pamplona, Spain and can be contacted at manuel@manuelancizu.com

To view other works by Manuel Ancizu, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/manuel-ancizu-beramendi/