Beyond Disruption: A Must-Read For Those Seeking Growth Without Chaos


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Discover the concept of nondisruptive creation, a new approach to innovation that fosters growth without destructive displacement, thereby striking a balance between business advancement and societal good.

beyond disruption

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I’m an original fangirl of “Blue Ocean Strategy”. So when Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth Without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, (the authors of the widely acclaimed Blue Ocean Strategy), showed up on my doorstep. I did a little happy dance. Let me just tell you — this new release does not disappoint.

A Kinder, Gentler Way to Look at Disruption

I think we’ve had just about all the disruption we can take. You know it and I know it. But that’s if you look at disruption the way it’s been traditionally defined. And that usually means. displacing one common industry, company or product with another one. As we’ve all experienced over the years, this often results in a win lose situation where the innovative product or technology wins and the outgoing companies, products and people lose.

But Kim and Mauborgne make a strong case that it doesn’t have to be that way. They invite us to consider the following:

“Instead of confining our imaginations to offering breakthrough solutions to existing problems, which leads to disruption, the opportunity for all of us is to go beyond disruption and displacement of the old for the new, to what we have come to call non disruptive creation. Nondisruptive creation opens a path for all of us to innovate and grow without displacing industries, companies, or jobs — by solving brand-new problems and creating brand-new opportunities beyond existing industry boundaries, whether those problems and opportunities are existing but unexplored or newly emerging.

They argue that there are a ton of opportunities to innovate, create, solve new and real problems. All we have to do is take a moment to look around, observe, and notice what new problems aren’t being addressed:

  • The loneliness of the ever-increasing aging population
  • Increased requirements for privacy as new technology encroaches into all aspects of our lives.
  • Alternative energy options
  • Life beyond Earth

See what I mean. When I first started reading, I have to admit that I had severe empty-head. Even though I knew that there were an infinite number of potential new problems to be solved, I didn’t have any ideas of my own. But with these simple trends and examples and asking myself the question “How can I help?” or “What if…” my brain was bubbling with ideas.

Let’s keep going.

How Beyond Disruption Works

As you’d imagine, there’s a process for coming up with these types of ideas. I love how the authors break this down into Technology, the novelty of the offering, the geographic market, and the level of social economic standing.

In short, the authors create a distinction inside the world of disruption. So there’s disruption that causes displacement and disruption that causes creation.

In this book, they want you to look at your world through a lens of creating something new. I love that they don’t just play in the big market or industry sandbox — they leave plenty of room for much smaller markets and ideas; take Halloween costumes for pets. This is another example of a very entrepreneur friendly market that’s grown into a $500 million industry.

An Engaging Read, Though A Bit Academic

The irony isn’t lost on me, nor should it be lost on you; Beyond Disruption is actually rather disrupting — but in a good way.

In the same way that Blue Ocean Strategy gave you a template and a method for mapping out existing industry leaders and their business models so that you can intentionally flip the script for competitive advantage, Beyond Disruption gives you a way to think about innovation in a way that adds to the industry or market instead of blowing it up.

Here’s a small example:

A Way for the Deaf to Dance

The book opens with a story about a rock concert. Nothing disruptive there. But then they tell you that half of the audience is deaf — and jamming to the tunes. How?

They are wearing a cool new technology called M:NI (I have no idea how you say this). But what makes this technology creatively disruptive is that it ADDS to the experience rather than displacing one thing with another. The M:NI is a wearable technology that allowed the deaf members of this audience to FEEL the vibrations of the music and hence, fully participate in the concert.

There are dozens of stories and examples just like this one. They also mention 23andMe and Kickstarter.

But it’s not all fairy tails and unicorns. This is a serious book and, at times, it gets a little academic. There are models and charts and graphs and heady academic principles involved, but don’t let that stop you.

A Must-Read With Limitations

Despite its academic tone, I can’t help but fall in love with Beyond Disruption. It’s yet another masterpiece from Kim and Mauborgne that provides a fresh perspective on a popular business topic.

The ideas presented in the book have the power to reshape our approach to growth and innovation, transforming how we view disruption moving forward.

However, small businesses may struggle to translate the concepts in this book into actionable steps on their own. It may be more suitable for those with resources to dedicate to rethinking and implementing their innovation strategies using the non-disruptive creation approach.

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth Without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs. It is an engaging read that offers valuable insight into the future of business, and I believe that any entrepreneur, manager, or industry leader will find it enlightening and transformative. Just be prepared to put in the effort to turn the ideas within its pages into tangible results for your organization.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."