Briefing #5 – Being aware of the need to be aware
In briefing #1 the chessboard and wheat story gave us a good look at the potential for exponential growth to result in explosive change and disruption.
In briefing #2 we saw how Moore’s law describes the reality of exponential growth for an increasing array of technologies either in use or development in the world around us.
Briefing #3 introduced the idea that our natural instinct is to see the future in terms of linear change rather than exponential change.
And briefing #4 highlighted the notion that, just as most of us miss the gorilla on the stage, exponential change can be very difficult to see, even when it’s right under our nose.
So where does that leave us? At first blush you might be tempted to conclude that we’re in a somewhat helpless situation – that the best we can do is hold on and hope that the damage or opportunity missed won’t be too great if and when something disruptive happens in our world.
At disrupt it we don’t see it that way. Our firm belief is that there are things you can do to improve your foresight – to give you a better chance of identifying the vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with disruptive technologies long before they finish up on center stage in your world. Moreover, we believe that you don’t have to play the role of passive participant as disruptive forces swirl about you and your organisation. In contrast we see opportunity to proactively shape the way the future plays out.
The starting point is awareness:
- Awareness of the nature of disruption
- Awareness of the thinking behaviours that can often blind us to what’s going on around us, and
- A deliberately cultivated awareness of things beyond the here and now – from the disruptive fringe – that might be the equivalent of a grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard.
The video below captures a conversation with Clayton Christensen (Harvard Business School professor and author of the best seller “The Innovator’s Dilemma”). It runs for about eight minutes and provides some great insights into his “theory of disruption” and the implications of disruptive technology for strategy, leadership and innovation.
In developing this series of briefings, we wanted to pull together some key ideas to help frame your thinking and provide context for the stories you’ll read if you subscribe to our blog "Tales from the disruptive fringe”.
We’ve barely scratched the surface. There are many more things we might have covered. But we hope you have found this primer series to be both engaging and thought provoking.
As with our previous primers, I would encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the things we’ve covered and what they might mean for your business or industry.
Please feel free to contact us directly at disrupt it if you would like to explore these ideas further in the context of your organisation.