Disruption is a Distraction

Disruption is not technology, that's merely the enabler. Seeing it this way will most likely lead to distraction.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about and discussing disruption across different markets. When we talk about disruption we often talk about avoiding distraction, but what appears clear to me is that the way we have come to talk about disruption is, in my view, a distraction.

We are confusing disruption with the means through which it is delivered, which shifts our focus away from understanding customer frictions in order to identify solutions, to starting with solutions and looking for frictions.

Disruption is not technology. Seeing it this way will most likely lead to distraction.

Disruption is born out of providing better services for customers, regardless of whether that’s B2C, B2B or even C2B and C2C. I specifically choose the word ‘services’ over ‘products’ for the same reason. Products are solutions, and it is my belief that services are better aligned to resolving frictions.

Don’t get me wrong, it is hugely important to be talking about disruption, but let’s get the focus of the discussion back on track.

A how-to disrupt guide for the disrupter

  1. Identify the customer.
  2. Identify customer frictions.
  3. Build solutions that address those frictions.

A how-to guide for protecting yourself against disruption

  1. Disrupt yourself. Be the disrupter (see above).

Avoiding self disruption is self destruction

In established organisations, we often find ourselves subconsciously going to great lengths to hold onto accepted truths, leaning on historical norms that may or may not reflect the reality of today. If you honestly ask yourself when was the last time you really challenged your accepted truths on which your products are built, this may become apparent.

It is this type of behaviour that puts established organisations in a precarious position.

If we compare startups, this type of behaviour doesn’t yet exist, largely because time is a key factor. The accepted norms in startups are fresher, they’re not yet stale.

One way of getting yourself out of this space is to really question and interrogate what you ‘know’. Use your inside knowledge to answer the question;

"Imagine you are the startup looking to disrupt your organisation's market, how would you go about this? What would you do?”

Labrador is a switching service that's taking advantage of data ownership, changing our approach to domestic energy.

The idea is to identify ways to make your own products obsolete. This is really healthy and while it may sound self-destructive, it’s the opposite of this.

Whether you do this or not, I guarantee that your competitors are. It is better to disrupt yourself than be disrupted.

At 383, this is a process we can help you to facilitate. We work with organisations to challenge the norm. If you have a challenge that needs tackling, we’d love to hear from you.