You’re using “disruption” wrong!

One of the most overused terms in today’s technologically advanced office is “disruptive innovation.” It is supposed to define something that fundamentally displaces an earlier technology. The problem is that most companies claiming to offer disruptive technology are not being disruptive or innovative.

Have you ever walked into a meeting and told those gathered that everything they’re doing is wrong? That’s disruptive. Now sell them on your unique and totally different approach. That’s disruptive innovation.Then deliver on it, not just with words, but with measurable ROI that the’ve never seen before. That’s disruptive results.

But we are obsessed with senseless jargon. We are desperate to make a name for ourselves, so we apply the ‘word of the day’ to whatever it is we’re already doing.

“You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig.”

Frankly, dressing up the same solution as everyone else is offering is still the same tired solution. Don’t try and fool people by claiming to be disruptive, when all you’ve done is created a mobile app or connected to social media.

Apple famously shook up the home computer industry with their 1984 ad introducing the Macintosh. They weren’t afraid to make a lot of people at Microsoft and IBM angry and to be truly “disruptive.”

In today’s market, increasing screen sizes on mobile phones by millimeters has become the equivalent of “disruptive innovation.” It would be laughable if it wasn’t so ridiculous.

Yes, there have been some examples of disruptive technology. Using your smartphone to order a car is not one of them. Neither is temporary instant messaging, or convincing people to rent out their homes to tourists unwilling to pay for a hotel (but expecting the same level of service). Sure, they are wildly successful and are making the developers into billionaires. But we can’t confuse ‘success’ with ‘disruption.’

It’s time to reclaim the word. Make some waves. Don’t be afraid to offend people (from a business perspective; not in the bellicose way that Uber’s leadership behaved). And don’t be afraid to take everything you’ve done, toss it out the window, and start again. Ask the question “what’s never been done before?” then go from there. Do something great.

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