For businesses, the very idea that disorder can lead to growth and movement is unthinkable. However, could it be possible that there are business models that gain from chaos and disruption? Is this kind of positive evolution achievable by any and every business, and under all circumstances? Each day, as businesses strive and struggle to serve consumers better as a means of gaining market share, we are left in no doubt that we need to transform our existing processes. And positive disruption is one way to do just that. But, can disruption and innovation go hand-in-hand? The short answer is “yes,” with disruptive innovation characterized by two attributes. One, the new innovation is a new way of doing business within an established industry. Two, this new way of doing business is in direct conflict with traditional methods.

Here are six ways to know if your business is disruption-ready:

  1. Do you accept that the face of the industry is about to change and that change is already underway? Every leader must look as far as ten years ahead into the future and be able to anticipate the realities of that time. Only then will the business have enough time to accept or challenge the disruption in their domain.
  2. Do you have a personal impact matrix? Such analysis can help identify one or two key disruptors that would impact the business most severely. These aspects can then serve as the starting point for internal review and innovation.
  3. Does your value proposition hold value down the line? Remember, disruption can make people go out of business overnight. With the advent of retail management systems and e-commerce, we are already seeing a reduction in the need for manpower. Evaluate your value proposition across a broad time period.
  4. Can you disrupt the industry? If you have a revolutionary idea, it is best that you put it into practice first. This can give you an edge in the current market and put you first in the race in the future as well.
  5. Are your departments integrated? Business intelligence is sourced from every single department in the business. While most manufacturers look at investment vs. output, it is time to measure the output against marketing spend, Supply Chain delays, product satisfaction and other KPIs independently and also as a consolidated result.
  6. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone? Some procurement companies find that they need to step into other industries, including but not limited to information technology and software development, in order to be able to cause a disruption or survive it. Business leaders with a pan-industry perspective are more likely to succeed in this endeavor.

Now, more than ever, businesses need to consider how best they can adapt to changing conditions. It isn’t enough anymore to just do it because everyone else is, but to be the first in the line, such that with every new development, there is more scope to grow as an enterprise.


About the author: Irfan Khan, the innovation-driven President and CEO of Bristlecone (a subsidiary of the $19B Mahindra Group). He's a revered marketplace change agent known for building customer centric organizations, driving business transformation and leading and managing turnaround growth strategies in business-to-business environments. As a senior-level thought leader, Khan's uniquely combined background in business leadership, strategic planning, field execution, people leadership, and customer-facing operations has allowed him to repeatedly transform, grow and optimize organizations—whether driving turnaround, building new lines of business, or creating foothold in new markets. He may be reached at www.bcone.com.  

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