Today’s business leaders are buzzing about the term “disruptive innovation”, originated by Clayton Christensen. It illustrates how a simple, innovative service or product is launched, and with the fury of a hurricane, torrentially floods the market. Ultimately, the simple service or product displaces its competitors.

Think cell phones practically making landlines obsolete and Uber’s upheaval of the taxi industry. Blockbuster also went out of business due to changes in technology, when streaming services and mail-in movies became commonplace.

Your company’s continuing success hinges on keeping a step ahead of your competitors and staying in close contact with your clients. Sustaining a culture of change and innovation makes you much less likely to be blindsided by new technology and trends.


Be the Disruptor not the Disrupted
Rather than always reacting to innovative disruption, get proactive and be the disruptor. Disruption displaces old ways, old products, and services with innovative changes.

Here are points to help you get started:

  • Be open to trying new things. Failure means try again.
  • Investigate ongoing disruptions in your industry
  • Look in your own backyard. Question staff about things they do, just because they have always done them that way. Challenge them to creatively resolve problems. Remind staff to trust intuition. Innovative solutions often come from out of the blue.
  • Do employees have a digital mentality? Do they know the essentials of newer technologies? Should you invest in technology training?
  • Explore each facet of your business, pursuing ideas from across the board that will decrease costs, enhance efficiency, and enrich client experience.
  • Ensure those you call “my people” are equipped with cutting-edge tools and technology. Encourage effective innovation.
  • Positivity and passion drive creativity. Motivate and praise your staff for creative ideas relevant to disruptive innovation.

Happy Clients – More Please 
Your customer base evolves and changes rapidly due to mobile technology. For instance, now that books are downloadable on Kindles, smartphones, etc., brick-and-mortar retailers of books have been seriously disrupted.

Today’s consumers have flexibility and control over their purchases. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to determine what keeps your clients coming back, what keeps them happy, and what you can do to attract new clients. If your decisions aren’t user-centric, chances are your company faces disruption or even death.

Limit Long Meetings & Get to Creating
Every minute you keep top talent tied to a conference room chair, you’re holding their creativity captive. If you are going to stay ahead of disruptive change in your industry, take a tip from entrepreneurs, who thrive on speculation and risk.

When a new process or technology feels right, approve and implement it. Better yet, give your chosen team (my people) authority to make business decisions.

What side are you on? The disruptor or disrupted?