Carlson Executive Education Blog

How to Spot Disruption - And What You Can Do About It

Posted by Cecelia Isaac on Sep 13, 2019 1:24:40 PM

In his two-day program, Disruptive Innovation, this June, Hari Nair will introduce the toolkits you can use to thrive in an environment of constant disruption, and in doing so pull ahead of the competition.

But first, what is disruption? And how can you spot it in time to act?

Here Hari Nair introduces three ways to understand disruption, so organizations can see disruptive trends in advance, and build their strategies accordingly.


 1. Jobs To Be Done

When a new product or service satisfies a consumer need better than current options, consumers will shift to the new alternative because it solves their problem better.

Compare your organization to a competitor, or a new voice in your market. Are they solving a problem consumers need solved? Hari Nair suggests that in order to meet unmet or latent demand in the market, you need to solve "jobs to be done." Your product or service may have been perfect for a previous era, but a competitor may have capitalized on the moment by solving “jobs to be done” in an easier way.


2. Disruptive Solutions

This competitor has developed the disruptive solution, and consumers have bitten. Is there a way for your organization to spot and capitalize on these solutions before the competition?

These disruptive solutions often require making trade-offs versus the current solutions in the market today. Organizations should have a focus on what they should be good at tomorrow. Instead, most only focus on the business of today.

Focusing on what you should be good at tomorrow is what Hari Nair calls "future-proofing." Future-proofing manages competing requirements: defending the core competencies of your organization, and "designing the new.”


3. New Business Models

A classic example of future-proofing is Netflix. Having already disrupted Blockbuster and other physical video stores with their DVD mailing model, they continued to mail DVDs while developing their streaming services. As DVDs dropped in popularity, Netflix was already prepared to capitalize on streaming with a broad catalog and original content.

If you are an industry incumbent, you may feel squeezed between the agility of entrepreneurs and the reach of industry giants. Future-proofing your organization does not require you to copy the tactics of either, but rather to utilize design thinking to investigate new strategies.

The future-proofing way of thinking is not easy to implement and it can take years to execute properly. As you change your organization's culture, assume there will be resistance to change. Recognize this so you can head it off by aligning around common goals.


As you can see, disruption does not have the catch your organization off-guard, as long as you are aware of shifting trends. For a deeper dive into disruption, see Hari Nair introduce the topic himself in this 20-minute webinar, Disruptive Innovation: How to Spot Disruption -- And What You Can Do About It.

Topics: Disruption, Innovation