Four Reasons Your Company May Be Susceptible to Disruption

What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology.

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Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
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Disruptee vs. disruptor: Every MBA knows economist Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction. So why is it that established, resource-rich companies still get the stuffing kicked out them by upstarts that seemingly appear out of nowhere? Steve Blank, who’s credited with launching the Lean Startup movement, offers an interesting take on that question in a new post on his blog.

“In the 21st century it’s harder for large corporations to create disruptive breakthroughs,” writes Blank. “Disruptive innovations are coming from startups — Tesla for automobiles, Uber for taxis, Airbnb for hotel rentals, Netflix for video rentals and Facebook for media.”

Blank says there are four reasons for this. “First, companies bought into the false premise that they exist to maximize shareholder value,” he writes. As a result, they subscribe to metrics like return on net assets, return on capital deployed, and internal rate of return that discourage investment in in long-term innovation. Second, too often company leaders are execs who excelled at functions like finance or procurement. “They knew how to execute the current business model,” says Blank. The third reason is “the explosive shifts in technology, platforms and markets that have occurred in the last 15 years.” Presumably, this adds too many wild cards for companies to track. And finally, there is the explosion of startups that has been engendered by easy access to venture capital. “For the first 75 years of the 20th century, when capital for new ventures was scarce, the smartest engineering talent went to corporate R&D labs,” says Blank. Now, these talented people are starting their own companies.

What can you do about it? Start by reading the rest of Blank’s post.

A new mindset may be your company’s best defense against cyber attack: Most business leaders are thinking about how they can put digitization to work, but far fewer are thinking about how it might be working against them. They should be: A study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute just revealed that the average cost of a data breach is running around $4 million.

How can your company protect itself? IBM says that an incident response plan that cuts response time — a plan that doesn’t exist at 70% of companies — can substantially reduce the costs.

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Topics

Tech Savvy

Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
See All Articles in This Series

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Comment (1)
Michael Pochan
... and as in Reason #2, perhaps the execs are tired or not up to the challenges any more.  

Five years ago I met with the CEO of a newspaper and altho he knew that the disruptors were gathering at the gates, he decided to look to retirement in two years and pass the problem on to three thirty-something journalists ... WITHOUT any help from outside technologists ( and technology was their biggest disruptor... along with Social Media platforms... ). 

Let me get this straight - you saw the Disruptors and you chose to ignore them - found no help... and left the staff to shrink away...