I ask these questions to build on the point Diahann made in this post: that rapid change is the new normal. Not just change itself, because we've always had that.
Disruption. In her TED talk, Whitney Johnson explains that disruption, in a business context, is defined as a low-end product or service that enters and eventually upends an industry. (Think Netflix.) Her upcoming book is about personal disruption, which is driven by the same principles. We disrupt ourselves when we do things like leave the safety of our jobs to try something new, such as turn an idea into a reality. Cool? Sure. Happening more and more these days? Sure. But disruption is, well disruptive. Life at the low end of something is unnerving, uncertain, and scary. We risk loss of stature, influence, and financial stability - all of which could occur if we do nothing. Hence, the The Innovator's Dilemma: whether you innovate or not, you risk downward mobility. Which begs the question: exactly what what is innovation, anyway?
Innovation: In the must-read book Start with Why, Simon Sinek explains what innovation is, and what it is not. Real innovation, he writes, changes the course of an industry or even a society. Examples are the light bulb, the fax machine, and iTunes. These things changed how we live our lives and how we do business. And, in the case of iTunes, it caused a whole industry to reevaluate its business model. In contrast, simply adding a feature (like a camera to a mobile phone) is not innovation. When we add just to differentiate, it's not the same thing as reinventing. Parallels exist in our daily lives. There's a difference between changing how we do something and reinventing ourselves. Novelty, Sinek writes, isn't a bad thing, "but it can't be counted on to add any long-term value." As some have observed, one way to stay in the game long-term is to master the art of the pivot.
Pivoting. Pivot is a commonly used term in the world of startups. According to pivot guru Eric Ries, it's a kind of change designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about a product. For example, a product might start out as a whole product, but the company might pivot later, transforming it into a single feature of a much larger product. Or a product originally intended for one customer base might end up solving an unanticipated problem for a different group of customers, so the company pivots and offers it to them. Like disruption and innovation, pivoting isn't just for companies. It happens on a personal level as well.
Question: What do you think? Have you ever disrupted yourself, as defined here? What's your experience with innovation? Have you ever pivoted, in the product or personal sense? We all cling to the status quo sometimes. What do you think the reasons are?
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