How To Identify and Manage Disruptive Change

What is Disruptive Change? Disruptive change occurs because of innovation in industries, change in the company’s structure, or transformation in business models. These fundamental changes disrupt the way an organization conduct business.

FBTB22: Leyla Acaroglu – Designing Disruptive Change

Ways disruptive change impacts business

Depending on how a company anticipates change and reacts to warning signs of disruptive change, disruptive change in a market can influence a business in a number of different ways. These include:


Disruptive change can lower customer demand, increase research costs, or decrease the price that customers are willing to pay for a product or service. Businesses that adapt to disruptive change may be in a better position to take advantage of the new market and boost profits, whereas those that attempt to uphold the status quo run the risk of beginning to lose money.

Products and services

To remain profitable during and after a disruptive change, businesses may need to create new products, discontinue existing ones, or find new uses for their current offerings.


The systems and practices a business uses to run, such as its machinery, communication systems, and logistics, can also be affected by disruptive change.


After a period of disruptive change, the types of customers, employees, and business partners interested in a business may change. If a company’s business model no longer comports with societal expectations, public perceptions of that company’s values may have an effect on all business relationships.

What is disruptive change?

When the fundamental ideas and procedures underlying a sector or business start to change, disruptive change results. Disruptive change necessitates high-level strategic responses from company leadership to ensure their company can survive over the long term, in contrast to small incremental changes that allow businesses and their employees to gradually adapt over time. Current goods and operational procedures may become less valuable as a result of disruptive change in favor of a new way of life. Disruptive change affects how companies interact with their customers and employees.

Disruptive change is often brought on by disruptive innovation. The concept of disruptive innovation holds that the introduction of a new product has the potential to upend an entire market, altering what customers want from a company or what employees anticipate from their employers, and vice versa. Entrepreneurs must adjust to disruptive innovations and disruptive change in order to avoid having their company fail or become unable to meet new customer expectations.

One example of disruptive innovation is the internet. The internet gave businesses the chance to adjust to the expectations of their customers and discover new applications for their products because it was a new medium for conducting business and consuming media. Disruptive change, such as the rise of the internet making blogs profitable while hurting newspaper sales, can eliminate the need for one market and create entirely new markets.

Indicators of disruptive change

The unpredictable nature of disruptive change is one of its most difficult aspects. It can be difficult to predict in advance which technological advancements or social movements will have a significant impact on the market and which changes are merely passing trends. You can still make preparations for disruptive change by keeping an eye on numerous smaller-scale changes in your neighborhood and place of business, such as:

Government and industry rules

Business operations may be impacted directly or indirectly by new laws, government initiatives, and industry regulations. More legislation pertaining to your sector appearing is a sign that disruptive change is already starting to change the market.

Limited supply chain availability

Reduced availability of labor and raw materials in your industry can also signal the onset of disruptive change. When vendors close their doors or combine their operations, it may be a sign that the businesses they supply are about to experience changes in their industry.

Lower volume of customer interactions

When customers are harder to reach by a company, it could be because they are making purchases through new channels or because a disruptive change is starting to change their interests and needs. An impending disruptive change that affected consumer behavior could be the root cause if customers are suddenly or gradually harder to reach.

Decreased customer satisfaction

More customer complaints and fewer repeat sales show that consumers’ preferences have changed, which may signal a more significant disruptive change in the industry. Customers’ needs may no longer be being met, in which case market expectations may be altering.

Specialties entering the mainstream

When specialized goods and services are viewed as commonplace necessities, it may signal disruptive change. There is frequently a delay between an innovation’s release and its widespread public availability in a way that disrupts business.

Changing public opinion

When societal values begin to shift, customers’ expectations of businesses and their purchasing behavior may also change. Businesses need to adapt to customer expectations that are shifting as well as how they want to conduct business.

Although these factors are not always indicative of disruptive change, their occurrence in large numbers is a surefire indication that it is.

Examples of disruptive change

Following are a few scenarios that illustrate the effects of disruptive change:

How to manage disruptive change

Making sure your job is viable in a changing market requires managing disruptive change when it affects the workplace. Even though you can’t always plan ahead for disruptive change, there are steps you can take to strategically react and respond:

1. Assess your resources

Take stock of your team’s resources to determine how you can remain adaptable and meet customer expectations after spotting signs of disruptive change. This aids in determining which company assets can thrive in a new environment and which ones might need to be repurposed. To ensure that your business invests in the right parts of its infrastructure, conduct a resource analysis.

2. Seek feedback

Establish channels so that staff and customers can comment on their experiences and observations in your industry. This heightens the company’s awareness of all business challenges, making it simpler to spot emerging issues and opportunities.

3. Study your competition

Pay close attention to how your competitors conduct business, what new products they offer, and the methods they employ in order to engage with customers. Determine when new rivals enter the market or how current rivals enter new market segments. Maintaining awareness of industry norms is crucial for identifying the strategies that are most effective and change-responsive.

4. Diversify your efforts

Having numerous ongoing projects that test novel concepts is one of the best ways to keep up with disruptive change. If one of your primary initiatives is affected by disruptive change, you will already have done some research and development on potential alternate opportunities, making it easier to adapt.

5. Identify new demands

Always come up with new ways to use your current business resources in different circumstances. Instead of redesigning the company’s processes to remain competitive with your current clientele, it might make more sense to adapt your company’s mission to a new market.


What is disruptive change and incremental change?

While you can’t always prepare for disruptive change ahead of time, there are steps you can take to react and respond strategically:
  1. Assess your resources. …
  2. Seek feedback. …
  3. Study your competition. …
  4. Diversify your efforts. …
  5. Identify new demands.

What are the main phases of a disruptive change?

Improvements in productivity and sustainability within an organization’s operations, supply chains, and overall business model are referred to as incremental change. On the other hand, disruptive change happens when business models are fundamentally questioned, altered, or (re-)invented.

What do you mean disruptive?

Idea Generation, Incubation, and Scaling Are the Three Stages of Disruptive Innovation | Stanford Graduate School of Business

Which idea is a successful example of disruptive change?

Disruptive behavior prevents something from going on or functioning normally. There are many ways children’s disruptive behaviour can be managed. For a small business, the process of implementing these changes can be extremely disruptive.

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