Disruption is the key to growth

Learn why “breaking a few eggs” is necessary to achieve new growth.
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Often enough, we view disruption with a set of lenses that see it for its antagonistic qualities. There’s something about disruption that makes it uncomfortable to be around. We’ve been conditioned to view it as the bully disrupting the class from the seat in the back, or a rude customer disrupting Starbucks by raiding their tip jar.

But disruption is not inherently negative. In fact, what we often forget about disruption is that it is immensely positive and incredibly necessary for bringing about meaningful change within our society and within ourselves.

Disruption does not seek to bring about the end of a project or idea, but rather the improvement of it. Disruption can be a powerful ally in a world where we often settle for what is comfortable and familiar. But sometimes, its benefits go unrealized because many people are afraid or unsure of how to harness its power within their own lives.

And yet as much as we feel its stinging effect, we also marvel at its ability to draw our attention to its sheer deviance. When we speak of market disruptions in the business setting, we initially react to how an external factor threatens the status quo.

Several years ago, I worked with Harvard professor, Youngme Moon, creating a promotional video for her book, Different.  The book describes “how to succeed in a world where conformity reigns…but exceptions rule.” Professor Moon “identifies the outliers, the mavericks, the iconoclasts – the players who have thoughtfully rejected orthodoxy in favor of an approach that is more adventurous. Some are even ‘hostile’, almost daring you to buy what they are selling. The MINI Cooper was launched with fearless abandon: ‘Worried that this car is too small? Look here. It’s even smaller than you think’.”

Albert Einstein disrupted the scientific community with his contribution that we now know as the Theory of Relativity. The discovery of iron disrupted the way people lived, which even led to the industrial revolution. The internet disrupted the way we communicate and consume information, and social media is disrupting the way that we perceive the world today.

Any act of disruption has the potential to be the next significant turn in our direction towards greater things. Truly, we must take market disruptions more seriously, and resist the urge to push them aside just because it’s convenient for us to do so in our own comfort zones. Disruption is clearly the path for evolution and the potential for positive change.

So break a few eggs in a world that often forces you to walk on eggshells. Disruptive ideas are not to be avoided. Rather, these new ways are avenues that we must pursue with a decisive passion that changes things for the better.


Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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