Disruption is good!

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Disruption. It’s such a negative word: “disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process”. In the context of innovation, disruption is what keeps the wheels of progress moving. For most businesses, disruption will mean change. In my experience business leaders seldom like change, however as the leader it’s essential to be aware of external environmental change and open to it embracing it. If you dislike change, then it’s time to rethink and learn to love what disruption can contribute to your organisation and to the world.

The root of the problem people often have with disruption is that it is about change, and generally speaking, people (I’m obviously not one of them) loathe change, but change is a vital component of our economic system. We have experts that help organisations manage through the process of change. Get it wrong and it can cause a business to collapse. It’s a risky business, but failing to respond to market opportunities and trends has caused businesses to fail. You know the ones. But, get it right, pivot and before you know it… we think things have always been that way. Smaller organisations may not think they have the capacity to hire an external consultant but failing to listen to outside objective opinion could be fatal to your enterprise.

As new technological advancements are discovered, new opportunities open up. Opportunities for transformation, disruption and change are all around. Disruption in the media and entertainment industry has opened up the market for new players. Twenty years ago we had never heard of Spotify. Twenty years ago we were still buying albums from Tower Records. Yes, disruption is unforgiving if ignored. Keep leaning forward, or you may become its victim, but if you’re the founder of an organisation then my hunch is this… if the root of your vision is viable then it’s essential you hold lightly to how you do what you do, look for the opportunities disruption could lead you to, and you will still be able to stay true to that original seed of what good your company contributes to the world. I’m pretty sure when Netflix got started they didn’t think they’d become today’s benchmark for streaming media, however, they saw an opportunity to take advantage of the technology disruption.

Today this same opportunity exists for niche players reaching special interest groups. Organisations involved in all sectors need to be open to being aware of the innovations within their sector. For-profit and for-purpose business, Government and non-governmental organisations. You don’t have to be at the sharp end of innovation but you do need to consider how you will leverage the disruption. It’s not whether you will, it’s how and what partners you’ll ask to help you. Whatever industry you’re in, I believe someone in your organisation should be tasked with thinking about it. If you don’t have someone, then you should identify someone outside of your organisation who can help provide an objective assessment and evaluation of the opportunities. I read in a recent Forbes Insight survey that just 25% of enterprises have made any meaningful progress in digital transformation. It’s encouraging, however, that 57% are starting. Have you? Will you? How will you?

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