Disruption? Insruption? Inspiruption?

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So we’re all into disruption. We get that; we’re into it too. It’s part of what we do, after all, so being into it kind of helps.

We saw a piece in Marketing Week a little while back that got us thinking — isn’t there more to disruption than most people think there is to it? That is to say, doesn’t the prevailing notion of disruption need disrupting? (We should say “‘disrupting’” rather than just “disrupting” but the scare quotes get boring.)

A couple of commentators recently accused people of misusing the notion of disruption (and disruptive innovation) by over-relying on it: if everything’s disruptive, then nothing is. Fair enough — not every idea can be disruptive, just like very few products are genuinely unique.

That got us thinking on a parallel track. In a world where established brands seek disruptive innovation, surely any monkey can be disruptive? You know, they turn up, use your meeting room as a playground, your phone as a hammer, your desk as a scratching post…which is all obviously flippant but shows the general point: disruption has to actually get you/your organization thinking differently, or produce ideas/products you wouldn’t have come up with yourselves.

Why would you settle for anything less? Perhaps because disruption (in the sense of disturbing your ordinary processes) is an easy way to tell the boss, or the board, that you’re doing something to address perceived stagnation or decline. But the litmus test is whether it’s actually getting you anywhere. Is it inspiring you to new things or just messing with the old ways?

So that would suggest there’s a positive element to the disruption we do want. And that’s something like inspiration — enabling you/your organization to change and move on to new things; building your capability rather than leaving you feeling behind and dependent on a second (third, fourth…) visit from the monkeys.

To remind ourselves of this, we created a neologism: insruption. It could have been “inspiruption” but we hate neologisms enough that it hurt too much to type the extra letters. It disrupts — insrupts — us to take a different approach to ‘disruption.’ And you?

Arfah Farooq