Isn't that cool?
We love the latest tools. From smart phones with more power than Apollo 13 to thermostats Google can [now] use to track our behaviors (if the NSA doesn't intercept the data…)
By and large 21st century humans love good technology, be it software or device and whatever we can dream up, well, there's an app for that.
But let's revisit the original disruptive technology. The one-word kernel that makes everything change. That word?
Have you been around a five-year old lately? (Do you know one, have one, or maybe just act like one?) Whatever language they speak you'll hear them say the word “why” relentlessly. [Somewhere around age three the word of choice is “no” but I digress.]
As anyone who's ever interacted with a small child can tell you its a powerful and seemingly never-ending question. Yet its not just children who benefit – and learn – from this series of questions. Searching for the answers serves us all.
We like to wax poetic today about the need for collaboration, the fundamental open-source DNA fueled by our project-driven life at work, school and social outlets. And I buy into the zeitgeist because I know this: the ever-morphing technology of work still runs on the same basic operating system.
The OS of understanding.
The question “why” in all its forms and variations is the software that drives the OS of life and business.
Resistance to change takes many forms as few among us like to admit the emperor has no clothes. How could we intelligent adults be wrong? Thus we strive to perpetuate the broken systems – management beliefs, public policy, economic theory, etc – we're accustomed to.
We often equate disruptive with disrespectful and put disruptors down directly or covertly to protect the status quo lest anyone realize the actual problem is we don't know the answer to the question why. Maybe we've stopped asking.
But this fundamental question, much like a base element, can never be reduced further or eliminated entirely.
Commerce today is more akin to collaboration than combat. If you want to thrive you must first survive and in so doing recognize the competitive landscape has changed. The disruptor is not problematic for you: the disruptor is helping you, perhaps even saving you.
There is no technolgy so complex as the human brain, no software or OS so flexible, malleable and capable of growing, learning and reapplying knowledge – given the right greenhouse.
Celebratre the disruptor, champion the person who wants to know why and above all make it safe for people to enagage in the debate openly so that your firm can learn organically before being swept away like species unable to react and adapt in time.
The original disruptive technology is the person who dares ask why and in so doing helps everyone test beliefs, check assumptions and move forward organizationally.
Celebrate your team of disruptors, for truly, therein lies all the difference.