Disruption: Finding the edges through force

There’s a lot of disruption in the world.

I read today that more than 200,000 job cuts have been announced this month. Most announcements have been by large enterprises; we never hear about the smaller firms. In fact, many businesses have likely closed altogether. We will not hear about those for a while.

These stories remind me of economic climate around the time of the dot-com bust. There was a lot of disruption then, too, but it led to great thinking and innovation in technology and other sectors.

For those of us in the technology industry then, it was a difficult time. Those experiences changed technology. That disruption forced us out of our comfort zone and to the edges of our businesses where we discovered new opportunities to serve untapped markets. In some cases, we created markets where none had previously existed. We found things we never dreamt about or thought possible before someone “dropped the bomb,” forced us out, and made us look back on what had happened.

Without the dot-com disruption, we likely would not know about MP3 players, iPhones, social networks, blogs, or Twitter. Thanks to that disruption, technology makes it easier for us to keep in touch, check our bank accounts from our mobile phones, and carry thousands of songs in our pocket.

I believe we need disruption in our lives, our businesses, and our worlds. We need to be forced outside of our comfort zone. We need to get to the edges, pull out the binoculars, and look at things a little differently. Like it or not, we need disruption to facilitate change and force us to the next level–whatever that may hold for us.

The good news is, we don’t have to wait for disruption from an external source.  Scary as it may be we can create it ourselves; and, we probably should in this economy. Finding and getting to the edges may well be the only way our businesses will survive.

David Harkins is a business strategist, speaker, and teacher.

He is the founder and executive consultant at David Harkins Company. In his spare time, he writes hikes, explores, and creates art. Although, not necessarily in that order.

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