3 Ways to Sow Disruption in the Workplace

Filed Under Innovation

Sound-triggered High-speed flash picture - 4/5/09
Vanessa Reed

April 22, 2014

Disruption is possibly the most over-used buzzword in business today. Often confused with innovation, ‘disruption’ is not always recognized until it smacks you in the face, reminding you that if you don’t change right now, change will happen to you — and it might not be pleasant.

1. Strategies Over Outcomes

In this excellent article by Andy Rachleff, CEO and President of Wealthfront, he points out that Business Models — not products — are disruptive.

Disruption is seeded in the way your entire organization functions, and how individual parts interact with the other elements of the business. Big organizations, in general, don’t do disruption very well. It simply goes against the fabric they’re made from. One reason these organizations are successful is because they are consistent and dependable. Their customers count on them to deliver the same, quality product in a timely fashion — not necessarily a bad thing for customers. But when an organization becomes too set in its ways, it can be damage their ability to compete effectively in the marketplace.

So what can your organization do to tackle the competition head-on, rather than waiting for an unforeseen competitor to knock you off your feet? Here are three ways to sow disruption in your workplace, inspired by this article from Forbes’ Greg Satell.

2. Adopt a Big Data Mindset

Often, it’s not the data itself but how it’s used that makes it valuable. The Bayesian Method, for example, is a strategy that has been making a comeback in recent years. The Bayesian Approach favors guessing at answers — aiming to become less incorrect over time — while integrating and constantly changing strategies as new data is collected.

Another effective way to use big data is with Agent Based Modeling. Agent Based Modeling tests how changes in individual behaviors will affect the system’s emerging overall behavior.

3. Open Innovation

Stop thinking about intellectual capital as an asset to be leveraged. Instead, envision it as a platform for collaboration. Do as Nike, The New York Times, and Microsoft have done, and create an accelerator program. Or, crowdsource innovation problems by utilizing an innovation management platform — like Mindjet’s SpigitEngage — which allows all of the employees in an organization to tackle business challenges and brainstorm solutions.

Finally, Improve agility in your organization by creating opportunities for individuals of different backgrounds, talents, and training to come together and share ideas. Bringing beneficial disruption practices into the everyday fold of your business catalyzes change and cements repeatable protocol, allowing companies to maintain competitive advantage even in the face of adversity.