On the surface of it, the movie Moneyball is about baseball. But it is also a great movie about disruptive innovation too.

The film is based on Michael Lewis’s 2003 nonfiction book of the same name, an account of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s attempts to assemble a competitive team. In the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), faced with the franchise’s unfavorable financial situation, take a sophisticated sabermetric approach towards scouting and analyzing players which resulted in them winning 20 consecutive games, an American League record.

There are however also great examples of how disruption of the status quo leads to breakthrough innovation. As a bit of a summary here are our…

5 Lessons in Innovation from the movie, Moneyball:

  1. Break problems down into smaller chunks – try not to look at the challenge in its entirety, but rather break it down into easily accomplished steps that you can tick off as you go along.
  2. Hire people from outside of your circle of competence – if you want to be different, you need to surround yourself with people who are different.
  3. Determination is an important driver of success – success comes from a competence and a good plan, but often grit and determination are the key ingredients to hanging in there until the world catches up.
  4. Don’t be sentimental – if the old stuff isn’t working any more, toss it out and replace it with something new. Do not fear the process of getting rid of ‘holy cows’.
  5. Break the rules – aim to fail – the most powerful position you can be in is when you have ‘nothing to lose’. Complete freedom and radical improvement are a direct result of not giving a damn about what others will think. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.


If you haven’t yet seen Moneyball, do yourself a huge favour and watch it. The baseball bit of it is just part of the story, the real value is in the underlying message of disruption.