We live in disruptive times. And the question for us is: How do we “live well” amid constant disruption? The word ‘disruptive’ (in the business sense) describes the rapid, changing nature of the world in which we work and the impact that change has on the way we live. Some disruption is great and some is not, and a lot of our thoughts about it depend on where we sit.
I dug a little deeper to better understand both the current business definition and its history. The term was originally penned back in 1995 as a business theory around the phenomenon of disruptive innovation*. Disruptive Innovation, describing a type of innovation that creates new markets and value networks that eventually ‘disrupt’ an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms and alliances.
It is true that markets are ever changing and companies need to be on their toes to be poised for making the changes and taking the risks necessary to stay competitive. The fact, however, that almost every business is in a state of disruption, means that the definition (or at least the result) has evolved to also describe the impact of that disruption to the core purpose of an organization, to the way leaders lead, and to the way the workforce engages.
Over the next few months, I’d like to focus on these aspects of disruptive innovation and explore:
- How organizations react and accommodate disruptive innovation;
- How people shift and adapt their roles to remain relevant and productive.
- And how leaders make the leap not only to lead a new kind of organization, but also to be a credible force and champion at the helm of ‘disruptive innovation.’
I invite you to take this journey with me and, by all means, share your own perspective on this phenomenon and how it may have impacted you or your organization.
*Disruptive innovation is a term defined and its practice analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen in 1995.