Disruption Rebellion

I suppose it was inevitable that I would encounter more sales folk, the moment I started to dabble with online products.

Every leech under the sun trying to sell me services to get more hits, to get my sites out there.

Of course, none of them offer any model reflecting payment by results. Clearly, they do not have as much faith in their abilities as they would have me believe. The online world is clearly a bed of shysters.

Looks like I am going to enjoy this.

What did pique my I interest, was the one (presumably thin-tied, angle-haired, tan-winkle-pickered) tit, who laid claim to the provision of disruptive services of some description.

And that got me thinking.

Every old tosspot falls back on disruption as a modifier for their ministrations.

Back in the day, being disruptive lead to the inevitable consequence of spending the remainder of the lesson in the corridor. Nowadays it is a virtue. Of course, disruption is nothing new. Only the bullshit label is – and the unrestrained application of it to anything that moves.

It should relate to innovation that forges the way for a new market and surpasses existing markets.

Like digital streaming is arguably doing to CDs and DVDs. A disruptive technology that is changing values. People are largely changing how they consume entertainment.

Think of the Internet. Elements of its application have led to a multi-tentacled disruptive evolution. Not just regarding products and services that are offered, but at the same time impacting to a degree on every aspect of our lives. But it did not happen overnight. It was a process that started at the fringes and ended up usurping large chunks of incumbent models and practices.

Where it has taken over, it has been on the basis of very different operating and commercial models. It’s not just the latest piece if technology or system that changes some aspects of what we do.

But that won’t stop the endless stream of bandwagon-jumpers from applying the disruptive modifier, if they think there is a chance that it will move some products.

They’re applying the description to anything that they feel has some novelty value which might help you. So, like it will be disruptive for you in the future (because change is good, right?), not as a descriptor of how that tool has evolved and changed the wider context.

They won’t even be aware of the wider environment in which they are working. They’ll have been spooned out some product and told to move x number per week. End of.

Now, the theories of disruption are many and multi-faceted – not to mention not being my thang. And I am not alone on that front. So, the next time you encounter some self-appointed thought leader pontificating on disruptive this or disruptive that, you can be fairly sure that they will never have heard of Clayton M. Christensen and his colleagues.

He was the chap who coined the term in 1995. And he and his peers should be the ones who keep hold of it, because surely the language of disruption should remain within the purview of the academics, the social commentators and anyone whose business is to chart and explain change.

As a feature or benefit and part of a sales pitch? Well, it is just another concept that is been appropriated by charlatans who want to big themselves up as movers and shakers.

The disruption analysis is for those who understand it. It is useful for expert forecasting and analytics.  So why don’t organisations just emphasise the momentous results their products and services are getting?

It is because they are not really doing anything special. Like most people, your average Joe is moving with the times and making changes when they can be afforded or understood. And in both cases, that is not going to be very often. Most of the time, organisations are being disrupted (in practice) by what gets done to them as, rather than them being agents for change.

But that’s not disruption in the Christensen context.

And when they do get to undertake something different, it will likely be because they have no other choice. And even if they have latched onto the next great tech change, the chances are that they will never be able to afford it. Like AI.

I am sure we all know contact centre organisations that bang on about AI and disruptive technology in their thought leadership blogs and will not even invest in CRM to integrate their customer channels.

Just another excursion on the buzzword bandwagon for the heroic shit-shooters of BPO and Recruitment.

Now excuse me while I plug my headphones into my mini-disc player.

unsplash-logoKatie Jowett

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