THE BLOG

What Business Needs is More Disruption...

14/05/2013 14:14 BST | Updated 10/07/2013 10:12 BST

Remember that boy or girl at school that was always mucking about in class and disturbing lessons by asking difficult questions? Ever wondered what they are doing now?

Chances are they are now earning a fortune running their own business - or even at the helm of a huge organisation. That child might even have been you.

Disruption is always unpopular with those who need to, or feel they have to conform. You can't blame a teacher trying to control a class for quashing unruly behaviour. It's easy to be the same in business. It can be annoying when you're busy and someone upsets the status quo by suggesting changes or even asking one too many questions.

Yet, often in business there comes the realisation that things just can't go on the same. Now is a good example; in a nutshell, if you want to do more for less and do it well, something has to give. In technology, vendors are now calling their products and services 'disruptive' in a positive way. Cloud computing and big data are examples of this as they force organisations to look at new routes to market and evolve their business models.

The Security for Business Innovation Council (SBIC) recently reported that the majority of companies have already engaged in some aspect of cloud-based services, with 82 per cent deploying them software-as-a-service (SaaS) style. However, as analyst firm Ovum puts it: "Too many enterprises will work at cloud computing-enabling IT rather than transforming their business via the cloud." In other words, to optimise investment in these new disruptive technologies, businesses need to do more than just buy and deploy them.

In fact, a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit asserts that technology disruption in business will accelerate throughout the rest of the decade with only 28 per cent of executives believing that technology's positive impact on enterprise productivity had plateaued. The vast majority believed there was much more room for improving operating efficiency, which in turn will help sustain the impetus for business model change.

Yet, as anyone in business knows, change can be so difficult to initiate and manage. Just suggesting desk moves or revising the holiday form process can cause a mini revolt. At board level, there will always be a reluctance to take a risk of any kind. So driving full-on business transformation is easily and quite often stalled before even getting into second gear.

Consequently, many more forward-looking companies - those who know that they need to constantly adapt to changing circumstances - are nominating a C-level executive to take on this role; a CDO - Chief Disruption Officer.

Previously this promotion may have been a poisoned chalice, creating a Lord of Misrule destined to dance to their own destruction (or the corporate equivalent). But organisations are now recognising that survival relies on flexibility, adaptability and open-mindedness and the CDO will be a figurehead of success.

In reality it is probably up to the CXO, CIO or IT director to take on the mantle. They need to keep feeding disruptive ideas to the board to ensure that an organisation is not just playing a 'me too' role in the marketplace, but is instead leading the field. They are the experts and know what new technologies can do for an organisation and they need to act accordingly.

They say that fortune favours the brave. Take a leaf out of the rule book of Maher Kaddoura who is the Chief Disruption Officer of the Jordanian company Meydan said: "... I like to disrupt things. I do not like it when they stay the same because they become tired. The only sign of life is growth and growth comes from change, not from standing still... and so, everything I do is about change; it is about, what I call, disruptive innovation."

Strong words indeed. However, any organisation that believes it can keep doing the same thing over and over again and will improve their results is fooling itself. The disruptive influence may not have been welcomed back in our schooldays, but we certainly need much more of it now.