There may no one word that better sums up the mindset of 21st century business than “disruption”.
This is a quote from a 2015 Harvard Business Review on the topic,
“The theory of disruptive innovation, introduced in these pages in 1995, has proved to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth. Many leaders of small, entrepreneurial companies praise it as their guiding star; so do many executives at large, well-established organizations, including Intel, Southern New Hampshire University, and Salesforce.com.”
2015, in the post-pandemic world, seems like at least a decade or two ago. The global Covid-19 pandemic will surely be remembered for many things. But one is undoubtedly going to be for accelerating trends that may already have been occurring – of all shapes and sizes.
“Disruptive” has been so overused as to have become not only disassociated from its original meaning in terms of business innovation but possibly meaningless.
That is, up until now.
Nine months into pandemic, I think it is fair to say that the modern business world has never quite experienced “disruption” quite as it has during this this year.
I am amongst those who believe that the many of the behaviors, habits and newly accepted norms, that we will have grown accustomed to during this time, will have become embedded in our collective psyche such that we will not move away from them quickly, if ever.
While it is possible to imagine that some long lasting and much needed positive change will emerge from this period, I am not sure that the costs will have been worth it. Already, we’ve lost nearly a half million American lives. The loss of life, while the ultimate price, is not the only one we are paying. The immeasurable loss and suffering that is accompanying the pandemic may never even be fully calculated.
While disruption may have been an interesting concept in the emerging digital world, I cannot help but question whether its time has come and gone.
Are we ready for a path to innovation and change that considers humanity more? Perhaps Transformation?