Clarifying Disruption: Operations vs. Innovation


The word disruption has multiple meanings in global business with the most commonly used definition some variation of “the act of interrupting continuity”. Within the context of logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, IT, and other business operations, disruption is obviously an experience managers work diligently to avoid. A good example of a recent operational disruption was caused by the Sendai quake and tsunami, a natural disaster which was unpreventable, but predictable and therefore can be mitigated with careful risk management planning.

In the context of innovation, however, and long-term economic survival, disruption can be paradoxical when “the act of interrupting continuity” of tightly controlled markets, stale products, and outdated business models is not an evil, but rather can be a savior to businesses, ecosystems, and economies, preventing eventual operational disruption, or as we’ve seen in many cases—complete failure. Read More