The 11 Sources of Disruption Every Company Must Monitor

  • Amy Webb
  • March 10, 2020

Think you’re aware of the forces that might disrupt your company? Your lens may be far too narrow.

Image courtesy of Michael Austin/

Recently I advised a large telecommunications company on its long-term strategy for wireless communications. The company was understandably concerned about its future. A half-dozen new streaming TV services were in the process of being launched, and bandwidth-hungry online gaming platforms were quickly attracting scores of new players. Possible regulatory actions seemed to be lurking around the corner, too.

Changes like these meant disruptions to the company’s existing business models, which hadn’t materially evolved since the dawn of the internet age. As a result, the company worried that it might be facing an existential crisis. To get in front of the risk, its senior leaders wanted to dispatch a cross-functional team to produce a three-year outlook analyzing which disruptive forces would affect the company and to what degree. It was no simple effort. First, the leaders had to galvanize internal support. At this company, any change to standard operations required lots of meetings, presentation decks, and explanations of concrete deliverables. Once they had buy-in and the cross-functional team was in place, they spent months researching the company’s competitive set, building financial models, and diving deeper into consumer electronics trends.