Business Today, Disrupt or Die (Part 1)

Today, emerging technological innovations are changing every aspect of businesses. The best way to describe these radical changes is disruption! Disruption is said to have occurred when a …


Today, emerging technological innovations are changing every aspect of businesses. The best way to describe these radical changes is disruption! Disruption is said to have occurred when a product or service fits a new or emerging market segment that is not served by existing incumbents in the industry, and it usually ride on the wings of evolving technologies.

According to Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, ‘A disruptive technology is a new emerging technology that unexpectedly displaces an established one. And they hold within themselves the capacity to alter our lifestyle, what we mean by work, business and the global economy’. This is exactly the realities in today’s business world, and it’s just the beginning.

Disruptive changes take place today at a startling rate. Hence, your business security lies in your ability to respond to these changes promptly, appropriately and intelligently. In the words of Warren Bennis, an American scholar and organisational consultant, ‘Change cannot be viewed as the enemy, for it is instead the source of organisational salvation. Only by changing themselves can organisations get back into the game and get to the heart of things. All organisations, especially those that are growing, walk a tightrope between stability and change, tradition and revision’. R. D. Laing added by saying, ‘We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing’. Disruptive innovations are challenging the traditional business models and changing handful of what we were used to.

Right now every single industry is going through one form of technology orientated disruption or the other. There is no sector that is spared of this disruption from commerce to communication, to media, to agriculture, to manufacturing, to construction, to publishing, to transportation, to energy, to security, to entertainment, to healthcare, to logistics, and to banking. Indeed, these are the days of disruptive business ideas, disruptive business models, disruptive business processes and disruptive business solutions.

As the business playing field is changing, the rules are changing, and customers’, wants and needs are changing too. Interestingly, these changes come with great opportunities for those who can see them. For any business to remain where it is, and do things the way it has always done, may be very costly or rather destructive.

Joel Barker, the author of the book Future Edge remarked, ‘When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero. Your past success means nothing.’ There is a landslide shift in today’s business, and those who fail to ride on it would become a tale or business dinosaurs! This shift may not stop. If there is any business rule that will remain unchanged, it’s the disruptive rule.

Analysis the present situation, Mike Schoultz, an Innovation Strategist revealed that, ‘These are scary times for many industry veterans. Hardly a day goes by without news about disappearing businesses and shrinking revenues. The bad news is that when the dust of disruptive changes settles, historically even the best-run companies typically end up in the loser’s column’.

The disrupting wave is simply unbundling the traditional businesses. Those that will be worse hit are those who fail to recognise this trend and strategically align with it as fast as possible. (We shall further this discussion in subsequent article). You must be bold to disrupt even when it hurts. You can’t stand still in a business world where everything thing is changing fast. You either disrupt or you are destroyed. Again, you either disrupt or die!

About the Author of this Article

Tony Ajah

Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the Principal Strategist, TA Strategic Solutions, a Lagos-based firm that provides strategic business development services for budding entrepreneurs.And the Director,Nigeria Innovation Summit.

His ideas are highly sought after by leading Nigerian print media such as Punch Newspaper, Daily Sun, Effective Managers Series- Daily Independent, Financial Standard, Business Day, M2 weekly, BrandWork Nigeria, BrandCrunch, ReguLetter (an international journal), amongst others. Tony has written hundreds of business articles that have been shared on several media platforms around the world both online and off-line.

He is also a seasoned idea strategist, trainer and professional speaker and his voice has been heard in numerous establishments across Nigeria and beyond.

Tony has worked closely with some of the brightest minds in the industry. He is a member of several professional organisations within and outside the country, and also an alumnus on Federal University of Technology Owerri.

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