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What Is Willful Digital Disruption and Why Is It Good for Business? - Finnegan Pierson - Blog

What Is Willful Digital Disruption and Why Is It Good for Business?

Disruption, particularly digital disruption, in the business world is the emergent technology and techniques which have a transformative effect on every aspect of modern society. The steam engine and internal combustion engine are two examples of technological disruptions while targeted marketing is an example of an evolving technique disruption. You can willfully use disruptions to either get an early edge on the market or to keep up with it.


What Is It?

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The definition for willful disruption in the digital age can be somewhat different as the technology and techniques are constantly evolving and bringing in useful things from industries other than your own. For example, some oil and gas extraction companies are incorporating artificial intelligence and robotic operation to better find and extract reserves with less danger to employees. Willful digital disruption is the aggressive and deliberate use of disruption for digital success. For instance, Google took an existing market, online searches, and innovated the field with real language searches and an extensive network of web crawling bots finding and categorizing websites. This company continues to use disruption to expand into mobile devices, email and social networking sites and quickly became the household name for all online search activities. Think about the last time you told someone to search something online, chances are that you told them to “Google it.”


What Are the Types? 

There are five main types of willful digital disruption: Offense or innovation, defense or competition, serendipity or chance, self-disruption or reinvention, and destruction or anarchistic. Many disruptions will fall into more than one type. For instance, when Netflix started the DVD subscription and then entertainment streaming revolutions, it fell into both offense and self-disruption categories.


Who Can Benefit? 

The biggest beneficiaries of digital disruption are those who either do it first or do it best. Your company can fall into those categories by keeping an eye out for emergent technologies and techniques which offer you opportunities to get ahead in the market and by continuing their evolution. This means embracing the information and analytics available to you and then leveraging that data to get ahead in the market.


Not everyone in your organization will be able to fully embrace disruption techniques so it is important to show your team managers how this will benefit both them and the company. This means opening dialogue, showing examples of successful disruptions in the past and attending various trade shows to get everyone fired up for emerging techniques and technologies.


How To Spot It?

It can sometimes be difficult to spot the disruptions which will be most beneficial to your company because it means seeing the developments in both techniques and technologies a couple of steps ahead of where they currently are. Smaller companies can look at how larger ones are disrupting the market and which strategies they can incorporate into their own practices. Research along these lines can lead to the information gathering and analytics that pinpoint the next innovation as well as show how to build a good defense.


How To Use It? 

Once you spot disruptions, you need to be able to effectively use them. The earlier you can start, the easier it will be to gain the market edge. For instance, scientists are rapidly learning how to use DNA as an information storage device, which could cause serious disruptions in the current system. To stay on top of this emerging technology, your company should determine how its widespread use would change the way that you need to do business and start making some of those changes now. The biggest example of how this has helped companies comes, arguably, from Amazon which used aggressive disruption to undercut the competition while offering new benefits to customers with emerging ecommerce technologies.


Willful digital disruption is a powerful technique which can take your company to the next growth stage. It can be difficult to spot and incorporate the right emerging technology and techniques, however, so be prepared for some missteps and to play catch-up every now and then.

Publish Date: February 26, 2020 6:54 PM

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