Typically we think of disruption in business as the introduction of an innovation that changes something significant in a value chain: a technology or a new idea that changes how we do things.
The problem with how we currently try to innovate is that the vast majority of the new processes and products introduced are actually either harmful to society or the environment or both. The reason is that they tend to shift cost and borrow benefit. This is usually easy to see for companies using natural resources where the real costs to the planet are not included in their accounting. But it goes far beyond these obvious cases. For example, many business models in media industries steal benefits from society, e.g. the benefit of easily accessible knowledge, in order to extract value. This is just one example of the obsession with monetization regardless of the actual intrinsic value of the process.
Disruption and creative destruction are quite rightly seen as vital aspects of our economic and social activity. But we need far more destruction and far more creation than the majority of current business practice is giving us. Yes even including the majority of “revolutionary” products from the hip tech startups!
We need to be prepared to destroy and rid the world of processes that cause harm by merely increasing our real debt to nature and communities. Shifting of the cost to another group, the disenfranchised, the poor, those in another territory, etc. or to the planet is simply not tenable. If that is part of the model used by a company then we need to compete that approach out of existence.
We also need to be prepared to be far more creative. Looking at an isolated process and figuring out how to extract value by changing some variables will not be enough. We have to create authentic value. We need to look at a process and imagine how to completely remove the elements that harm the world and we need to remove the dynamics that cause the benefits to accrue to fewer and fewer people.
That’s our mission, and we choose to accept it!