The Disrupted or the Disruptor: Pick One

What comes to mind when you hear the term “disrupt”? Does it suggest chaos, lack of direction or other unsettling events?

Or do you see it from the other side of the coin—when you’re the one causing the disruption and, as a result, leveraging the opportunity that results?

If your organization has an anticipatory mentality, disruption is often synonymous with opportunity—that is, if you’re able to accurately anticipate the future and plan to act on it accordingly instead of merely reacting.

Disruption Defined

Everyone knows what disruption means. It refers to a force or an action that changes normal progress or activity.

Where you go from there to further interpret disruption depends on your attitude and mind-set. If you view disruption as a negative—an interruption in the normal flow of things that isn’t particularly welcome—then you can hardly be expected to value it.

On the other hand, if you embrace an anticipatory mind-set, you also embrace the opportunity that a disturbance in the status quo can offer. In fact, it’s more than just a welcoming attitude—by being anticipatory, your organization itself may be the driving force behind the disruption.

Changes in the newspaper industry illustrate this. Newspapers that have focused on the traditional print product are struggling, with many closing their doors entirely. On the other hand, newspapers that anticipated digital disruption—Great Britain’s The Guardianis a prime example—have flourished.

Disruption Is Coming—Faster and Faster

Disruption used to be a good deal slower than it is now. It took decades for disruptions such as the railroad and the interstate highway system to fully alter the transportation status quo.

That’s not the case any more. Given the explosion of technology and the ever-faster rate of change, the frequency and magnitude of disruption is occurring at an ever-increasing rate of speed.

Consider the digital disruption that now occurs all the time. A new smartphone, an activity tracker, a calorie counter or another tech-based product is introduced, and millions of customers eagerly snatch it up and begin using it within hours.

The internet affords immediate buying opportunities for customers around the world. Social media is on fire with chatter and product reviews.

Every bit as significant, all those other products and forms of technology that preceded that new product are considered out of date—and in many cases, rendered utterly obsolete.

What if, by chance, this new product is a failure? Same story, only flipped on its head, as unhappy customers share their frustrations with millions of others worldwide.

But at the same time, it affords an opportunity for further disruption—in this case, perhaps from a competitor who identifies the product’s flaws and introduces a new, better-functioning version.

Disruption Is Coming—Which Side Will You Be On?

Future disruptions are a certainty. What’s also certain is that the speed and effect of those disruptions are merely going to continue to increase, impacting both our personal and professional lives in countless ways.

That raises the central question: Which side are you going to be on? Will you be the disruptor or the disrupted?

From my perspective, it’s always far better to be the disruptor. For one thing, the disruptor is the one introducing change, as opposed to others who have little choice but to try to react to that change. History offers countless examples of disrupted companies that struggled desperately—and often unsuccessfully—to react to change. Just ask Blockbuster or Kodak.

On the other hand, not only is a disruptor the force that’s directing change, it reinforces the value of keeping an anticipatory mind-set, one that’s always on the lookout for game-changing opportunities. And once an opportunity is identified, being the disruptor allows you to, in effect, call the shots, rather than merely twisting this way and that in an effort to handle a powerful form of disruption that you may never have even seen coming.

It boils down to a simple truth: If you’re thinking game-changing opportunity, you’re thinking disruption.

Watch the Reaction

Watch the reaction to Daniel Burrus’ Recent Keynote presentation.

Daniel Burrus has over three decades of being right about where things are going, which is evidenced by his long and diverse list of repeat clients. Daniel has worked with leaders from Fortune 500 companies, the Pentagon, and heads of State-delivering powerful insights and actionable strategies.

A ‘must-hear’ presentation.

Steven A. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Your thoughts on how to create an opportunity for change through a customer focus is the excellence our team is striving for. The framework you provided on innovation, creativity and customer value will be instituted as a management practiceto enable the technology infrastructure group to take Wells Fargo to the next stage.

Victor Nichols, Wells Fargo

By applying Daniel Burrus’ principles to our business, in less than a year we have been able to double our revenues and increase the value of our company by a factor of four, and we feel the biggest impact is yet to come.

Arni Bellini, CEO, ConnectWise

Recent Work

Recent Work

When IBM launched IBM Global Business Services with their top 40 industry experts to plan a game‑changing future for IBM, the only outside resource they used was Daniel Burrus. (The meeting was a great success, and he has continued to work with IBM).

When Vodafone launched its Global Mobile Enterprise service to Fortune 200 companies, they chose Daniel Burrus to deliver the message to C-level Executives in multiple national events.

When Deloitte gathered leaders from China and SE Asia for a major forecasting event, they chose Daniel Burrus. (Based on the success of that event, Deloitte has changed their industry-forecasting model to incorporate Burrus’ Hard-Trend methodology.

A Master at Tailoring Presentations

A master at tailoring his presentations to the specific needs of your audience, Daniel is a futurist keynote speaker who identifies game-changing trends and strategies to help you:

  • Empower audiences to take positive action.
  • Separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends than might happen
  • Learn which current and emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on your industry.
  • Learn how to creatively apply these technologies to create strategic value and competitive advantage.
  • Anticipate Disruptions, Problems, Customer Needs and New Opportunities
  • Learn how to leverage the skills and talents within your organization in new ways.
  • Learn how to use new tools to change the rules of your industry with honesty and integrity.
  • Learn powerful personal strategies for shaping your future.
Daniel Burrus’ Speaking Accolades

Daniel Burrus’ Accolades

  • The New York Times named Daniel as one of the top three gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.
  • One of the Top 21 Speakers For the 21st Century by Successful Meetings Magazine.
  • He has been voted by his peers and clients as one of the Top Five Futurists and Technology Speakers every year since the award program started.
  • A member of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.
  • He has delivered over 2,700 keynote speeches on six continents to audiences from 25 to 12,000.