Innovative ideas for every utility

Your best recipe to own disruption

My very Southern momma would always use one very Southern saying—if something were so obvious as to be obvious: If X ain’t true, then grits ain’t groceries.

I thought of that particular saying this morning while listening to Luke Williams, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, discuss the recipe for getting ahead of industry disruption. Perhaps it was all the talk about recipes and cooking. Perhaps it was how true everything Williams said rang, just like the best old Southern sayings—truth with a little flare.

Williams discussed all the old standards for what makes a business get disrupted (complacency and arrogance) and what makes a business the disrupter (freedom from constructs and the freedom to think wide).

We’re going to do a little traditional cooking and boil it down this way.

You’ll get disrupted if:

  • You see your silos as unpassable.
  • You value only thinking that aligns with short-term value.
  • You believe growth is in merely staying the course already set.
  • You constrain innovation to align with commodities thinking (based on scarcity).
  • You view ideas as hurdles.
  • You emulate the personality traits of innovators.
  • You let old patterns define your business.
  • You hold on new investments in new concepts until you’re sure they’ll support your business model.
  • You’d rather be comfortable.
  • You insist on continuity.
  • You get behind reasonable predictions.

You’ll be the disrupter if:

  • You don’t see silos at all.
  • You’re thinking without specific value in the process up front.
  • You stride down paths unknown.
  • You free innovation to align with conceptual thinking (embracing abundance).
  • You view ideas as an inexhaustible resource.
  • You emulate no one. (Think of yourself as the master chef of your own kitchen.)
  • You rearrange your thinking about your connections (customer connections, partner connections, connections to your traditional revenue model.
  • You’re willing to invest in concepts that have no proven monetary value (just yet).
  • You thrive in discomfort.
  • You embrace discontinuity.
  • You get behind unreasonable predictions.


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Comments ( 1 )
  • Brad Williams Thursday, February 14, 2019
    Thanks Kathleen. Agree - a timely Keynote from Luke. Thanks for a great summary of useful ingredients to avoid getting disrupted or to include in being the disrupter.
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