Nick Webb


As with any concept, to understand disruption, and its power to either help you or damage you, it helps to break it down into manageable chunks. In the business marketplace, we see disruption emerging as an increasingly powerful force in five key areas:

1. Increased customer power. People who buy your products have more choices and they’re more involved in the brands and suppliers they love (and hate!). They not only “vote” with their cash, but they can make their voices heard through social media and on platforms such as Yelp and Angie’s List. They want, and expect, 100% on-time delivery in full, and no-nonsense returns. No company can survive without managing the disruptive power of the customer—which means exceeding expectations, first time, every time.
2. Revolutionary connection architecture. Digital media has disrupted the way we do business. Internal tools now include intranets and real-time dashboards that can deliver up-to-the-minute company performance metrics and reveal problems demanding action. We now shop online, putting enormous pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers to innovate and redefine the customer experience. In the supply chain, the Internet of Things (IoT) means that every step is tracked and verified—there’s no place for sloppy work to hide!
3. Rapid innovation. The pace of disruption is increasing. Product lifecycles are shrinking. Analysts say that across a range of industries, fifty per cent of annual company revenues are derived from new products launched within the past three years. This means that long-term product “cash cows,” which may have been in a company’s portfolio for many years, are becoming things of the past. And if a business is slow to introduce a new product to market, it risks launching something that has already been superseded by competitors.
4. Evolving economic models. The days of the old top-down, hierarchical company are fading. Today’s digital world of work has shaken the foundation of organizational structure, shifting from the traditional functional hierarchy to a network of teams. As teams operate and customers interact with the company, they must share information about disruptions, what’s working, what isn’t working, and what problems they need to address.
5. Emerging employee personas. Too many employers treat their team members as if they live in a single demographic bucket. In fact, leaders are increasingly recognizing a range of what we call employee personas, based on what employees love and hate. It’s not about their age, income, position, ethnicity, or any other traditional demographic factor. Winning innovation leaders know how to identify their team members across a range of personas, and by doing so they can engineer beautiful experiences for them across a wide range of what we call team touch points.

When an innovation leader can be extremely granular about each of their team members and understand them based on what they hate and love, they do a far better job of engaging them, connecting with them, and ultimately creating a work environment that delivers the best human experience for them while delivering the best productivity and results for the enterprise.

Employees who feel like they’re being treated with indifference become disengaged, less productive, and more likely to look for the exit.
When you know the five faces of innovation disruption, you’ll be ready to take action against them.