How to Become a Disruptor of Your Industry

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

The global payment industry faces disruption again. „Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency, with lofty goals“ is a headline that could shake-up the financial industry, more than 20 years after the disruptor PayPal occurred.

Disruption is a phenomena, once famously explained in its original form by Clayton M. Christensen, that today could strike in any industry at any time. Disruption offers tremendous rewards for those, who successfully perceive opportunities and act upon it. On the other hand it often means shrinking businesses and can lead to the end of companies, when people fail to understand it. What makes the difference?

Well, it’s about people: „The Most Important Factor in Innovation is Humans“. And to be more specific: Human mindsets and behaviours are the keys.

In „Thoughts About Innovation“ I mentioned three examples for what happens, when people fail to perceive, understand and act on upcoming disruptions: I am absolutely convinced, that today a Swiss bank could have been a global leader in mobile payment applications, a European car company could have been the leading electric or hydrogen powered vehicle manufacturer, and a Swiss watch enterprise might have become the leading smartwatch company in the world.

It’s important to note: A long time before these disruptions by industry outsiders started, strong indicators for change were visible in all three industries. Obviously, the ability and willingness to perceive and act upon that signals has been a crucial factor.

Many executive leaders focus and rely on financial key figures of their businesses. Of course, financial performance and particularly profits are essential for companies. But the typical key performance indicators neither warn you, when your business could get disrupted, nor do they signal you, to disrupt it yourself. Even extremely successful entrepreneurs and investors sometimes fail to see important developments: „Jorge Paulo Lemann Says Era Of Disruption In Consumer Brands Caught 3G Capital By Surprise

Financial analytics has its limitations. We all know, that well-trained lean management specialists just see the waste by observing a process. These inefficiencies were never detected by financial analytics. But these specialists „learned to see“ the waste. Similarly, you also might learn new capabilities.

The ability to anticipate is one of several essential elements of an innovative mindset. Think about sports: A tennis player knows or sees, when it is the right moment to approach the net and make an important point. A captain of a soccer team is fully aware of the situation on the field and anticipates or just sees, when and where to pass the ball that leads to a goal.

I myself discovered my ability of anticipation decades ago. In the beginning, it was easier for me to anticipate future scenarios than realising that others just couldn’t see what was obviously going to happen. The good news is, that anticipation can be learned and further developed.

If you want to become a disrupter of your industry, it is important to anticipate future scenarios of that industry together with other relevant developments in our world. This goes definitely beyond understanding the recent and upcoming trends - you don’t have to anticipate what almost everybody in the industry already knows. But anticipating to develop some kind of „extended awareness“ helps you to identify opportunities where you can try to break-up the industry.


Disruption is a highly relevant phenomena in every industry. Before you get caught by the surprise of disruption, you might consider surprising your industry by disrupting it yourself. Therefore you should definitely develop an innovative mindset and innovative behaviours. The ability of anticipation is a key element of an innovative mindset. Take your opportunity and make the first step to become a disruptor of your industry.

Get in touch with me today to discuss your needs and desires and find out how I can help you and your organization to reach growth, profit, and success through technology innovation. Schedule Your FREE Discovery Call Now.

Sources and Recommendations

Christensen, Clayton M. (2016). The innovator's dilemma : When new technologies cause great firms to fail (The management of innovation and change series). Boston Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press.

Gara, A. (April 30, 2018). Jorge Paulo Lemann Says Era Of Disruption In Consumer Brands Caught 3G Capital By Surprise. Retrieved from

Liker, Jeffrey K, & Meier, David. (2006). The Toyota way fieldbook : A practical guide for implementing Toyota's 4Ps. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.

Paul, K., Irrera, A. (June 18, 2019). Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency, with lofty goals. Retrieved from

Thiebus, Sven (May 30, 2017). Thoughts About Innovation. Retrieved from

Thiebus, Sven (June 11, 2019). The Most Important Factor in Innovation is Humans. Retrieved from

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