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PIPELINE RESOURCES

Dominating Disruption: Featuring Dorado Software

By: Scott St. John

Disruption is relentless and not everyone survives. Our species and its predecessors have had to contend with tremendous changes over millions of years just so that we could be here today. In fact, we have survived five mass-extinction events, six plagues, and the Kardashians – so far. Survival is no small feat. But there are significant differences between simply surviving change, enduring survival, and actually thriving through disruption.

Those are important distinctions. Some, like the woolly mammoth, may have been able overcome a single change, but were unable to weather the waves of disruption that followed. Others, like the rough-and-tumble bumble bee – which had the distinction of being recently added to the endangered species list – have been able to endure persistent changes but eventually began to dwindle by failing to evolve with their environment. Then there are those, like we humans – or ants, who have thrived upon disruption to achieve a dominance over the environment while others gave way to extinction.

Think about which of these examples best describes your organization. Are you thriving by capitalizing on disruptive change or are you just hanging on to survive? Or, have you overcome tremendous change in the past just to see the end closing in as the next wave of disruption continues to swell in front of you?

The struggle is still very real. Even now, according to the book Sustaining Life, dozens of species face extinction every day. This is not unlike the myriad of companies falling daily into the digital divide or being crushed by the weight of their own transformation projects. Dell Technology Research reported a "Digital Crisis Looms," stating that digital startups will make their business obsolete within three to five years. And they made that prediction two years ago. The fact is survival is fraught with risk, and the key to thriving is adaptation. And that begins by understanding the nature of disruption.


Taking the Change out of Disruption

Disruption can be defined as anything that changes the current order of an existing process. Introducing a rock into a stream disrupts the flow of the stream. By its very nature, technology changes the current order of an existing process. And it really doesn't matter the technology example you choose, whether that be the advent of the wheel or the iPhone. New technology is a change to an existing process.

But, it stands to reason that if you were able to eliminate change, you would eliminate disruption. That's not to say that you can stop changes from occurring; but you may be able to eliminate the effects of some changes. If a rock diverts the flow of stream, you may be able remove the rock. If the rock is too large, you could revert the stream back to its initial flow.


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