Mastering the art of disruption: Essential steps, strategies, questions.

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Insights | 0 comments

Disruption demands change. To remain an industry leader, increase revenue and customers, organisations need to constantly reinvent themselves and change.

Disruption is an event. It takes many forms (OpenTable, Bitcoin, Amazon, Wikipedia, Netflix), and impacts organisations at many levels; for example, your organisation may need to change your:

  • service delivery;
  • business model;
  • administrative processes;
  • customer base.

 “If you defer investing your time and energy until you see that you need to, chances are it will already be too late.” Clayton M. Christensen (2012), How Will You Measure Your Life?

Clayton Christensen and Joseph Bower are often credited with defining ‘disruptive technologies’, they essentially ask three questions:

  1. Do their customers want it?
  2. How big will the market be?
  3. Will the investment be profitable?

Whatever the reason for disruption; new start-up, technology, social, health and welfare reform, disruption asks, and answers the first two questions.

Organisations should then ask themselves the third question. In doing so, you revisit the first two questions from your organisational context and you re-examine your ability to meet the needs of the people you serve?

Disruption starts with committing to excellence and taking a stand for your customer”. Lewis Howes.

 A culture of disruption.

“You have to seed internal disruptors. You need sources of internal disruption. They don’t guarantee your survival, but you have got to try”. Anand Mahindra.

Disruption does not need to be unexpected. The best innovation for your organisation is self-disruption.

Cultivate an environment where staff disrupt and reinvent themselves. Disrupt your own service by focusing on the future, not your past!

In addition to the three questions posed by Christensen and Bower, add:

  1. Do you know where your service adds value?
  2. Do you know where your service falls short?

As hard as it may seem, you can disrupt yourself – Apple did it – they realised they needed to eliminate the iPod.

Anticipate what’s disrupting your organisation and address it:

  • View the organisation through the lens of your customers;
  • View learning as a lifelong journey;
  • Seek to continually develop;
  • Remain agile, flexible and adaptable;
  • Build diverse teams (culture, perspective, gender, age, experience);
  • Integrate innovation as part of your strategic planning;
  • Understand your data;
  • Question your reality;
  • Be proactive;
  • Stay sharp and be willing to provide the tools and training for employees to think and act differently.

How you respond in the face of disruption is critical.

During disruption maintain focus on the culture of your organisation, invest in continuing to foster your positive culture.

Deloitte have developed a  useful resource: Building a culture of continuous improvement in an age of disruption; five steps that set you on the path to managing disruption.

Bill Miliotis

Organisational Architect and Change Leader.

Working across multiple sectors, Bill facilitates the creation and implementation of lasting development, growth and outcomes.

For more information visit or email

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