Four key areas of disruption

Broadly speaking, disruption tends to fall into four main camps. These can be summarised as:

  1. The market

From legislation and regulation such as GDPR, to political upheaval in the shape of Brexit, to the fluctuating price of oil – the wider market can throw curveballs that disrupt businesses of all sizes from across industry. While many of these disruptions are completely out of the control of individual businesses, what they can control is their understanding of the market as a whole and their ability to respond in an intelligent and agile way.

  1. Competitors

While Henry Ford’s philosophy of ‘don’t think about your competitors, think about yourself’, is generally very sound, businesses can now be brought to market faster than ever before and can therefore disrupt incredibly quickly. So on the one hand, businesses should absolutely focus on their own solid business strategies, but do increasingly need to keep a very close eye on competitors and would be competitors. However, it is not enough to merely quantify the risk here, businesses need to also ensure they can react to nimble start-ups. Key here is for legacy businesses to not underestimate the strengths their size and history may offer them. They may not be able to move quite as quickly as a new competitor on the block, but then again that competitor is unlikely to have an established supply chain, for example.

  1. Customers

We are truly in the age of the customer, where consumer expectations are evolving as rapidly as emerging technology is. Today’s consumers are sophisticated and empowered and they expect personalised, easy to use, speedy and efficient experiences across all areas of their lives. It is vital for businesses to know their customers inside out and ultimately be able to pre-empt their needs. Those organisations who become complacent towards their customers do so at their own peril. Even the mightiest of brands can fall due to changes in customer behaviours or feelings.

  1. Your own business

All too often, one of the biggest disruptions to business comes from within. By not listening to customers, not fully understanding the market, not moving quickly enough in responding to change, or in making decisions too early for their capabilities and trying to ‘jump ahead’ on the transformation journey before they are ready, organisations are harming themselves. Legacy businesses in particular can be guilty of sticking with the status quo, out of fear or indecision or both. But all this does is place limits and boundaries on a business and gives its competitors the space and time to steal market share.


Disruption can be challenging, especially when it comes (as it increasingly does) from multiple directions and embracing change isn’t always easy. However, just because something is challenging or difficult, doesn’t mean that it can’t also bring huge opportunities.

We strongly urge all businesses not to fear disruption. If you are properly prepared, by having a well researched and executed business strategy, as well as a good understanding of how you can be disrupted and (more importantly) how you can respond to disruption, then disruption isn’t something that should be seen as a threat. Instead, disruption can be embraced for the opportunities it presents.


Download and read the full ‘Disruption report’ here.

Talk to us if you want to learn more. 

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