Disrupt, Don’t Interrupt: Business Strategist

Disrupt, Don’t Interrupt: Business Strategist

In this guest post, business Strategist for Marketing Focus, Barry Urquhart, talks about the difference between disrupting and interrupting, and the best lessons if you want your business to cut through.

Some things never change.

Often they simply get a new label. Disruption is a classic example.

For some its meaning is an exciting, original concept – new to humankind and all things commerce; a moment of reflection may well develop a different perspective, and appreciation of change, innovation and creativity.

At the Battle of Hastings in 1066, King Harold was killed with an arrow to the eye.

His archers were armed with cross-bows. The opponents, the Normans, effectively disrupted traditional military thinking and strategies with their introduction of the long-bow. It could fire three times longer and six times faster than the cross-bow.

Harold’s plans for advance, and a long, happy life, were disrupted.

Likewise, in September 1916 on the Western Front, for the first time the British introduced tanks to the field of battle. They were designed and manufactured by the marine engineers (hence, the phrase, “landships”). In essence, they were slow, noisy, largely immobile and had the tendency to break-down.

They were, however, new, imposing, looked threatening and, ultimately, were effective, given that many German foot-soldiers turned and ran from this new “disruptive” presence.

More recently, in Libya and Syria the forces of ISIS and Daesh have been disrupted in their advances with the effective deployment of UAVs – drones.

Securing and maintaining control over land areas is another, related issue.

Disruption is most effective when it is not a distraction. The attention of target audiences can be re-channelled and business concluded when the disruption is relevant, beneficial and readily acceptable.

Ultimately, the “siren call” of distraction ultimately is time -consuming, and ineffective.

Parallels between the strategies and tactics of warfare and commerce are well established. In both instances, advances, -be they territorial, strategic or disruptive -are best when they are targeted.

Most disruptive products, services and applications which are currently entering the marketplace will not be economically and financially successful. They will simply be distractions.


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