How to Survive or Co-exist with Disruption

Muhammad Saqib

March 04, 2021

How to Survive or Co-exist with Disruption

Disruption means causing trouble and creating problems. No one can suggest their kids to be disruptive. However, causing disruption in businesses with the aid of new technology, innovation and strategies are means to success. Disrupting businesses is not negative, but natural. So, businesses challenged with disruption have to face it, rather than avoid it, and make changes accordingly in order to survive and thrive, just like a parent would take precautions when their kid is being disruptive.

To fight disruption, you need to understand it first.

Understanding Disruption:


Disruption is not just a sudden phenomenon, but a process. From tire to motor cars, telephone to smartphones, telegram to the internet, etc. It means, innovations and inventions are unstoppable; so instead of ignoring these progressive factors of life, businesses should learn and adopt them.

Be aware of Progress:

Now, if you want to keep your business alive and don’t want to give up against disruption, know about:

  • The strengths of the disruptor’s business strategy and model
  • Analyze and understand your relative advantages
  • Assess the situations and conditions that can help you hinder your disruptors to co-opt your current advantages in the coming future 

Modes of Disruption:

Disruption can be brutal, so understand its modes, and see how you can best tackle it. Two modes of disruption are:

Demand-side disruption:

In this disruption, your disruptor’s business has an innovation, but your customers are not interested in that innovation in the present, but keeping an eye for its results in the future. It means, your disruptor can bring loss to your business revenue in the future. How can you prevent it?

Supply-side disruption:

This disruption is very challenging. As your disruptor introduces new technology, the challenge begins mounting on your shoulder for you to react or give up.

1) Reactive Approach:

The reaction can be knee-jerk or wait and see. It depends upon your technique and plan, how you want to survive disruption. Either you wait and see like Blackberry did when iPhone disrupted them, or you can think of a merger acquisition, as Facebook did with Instagram. And we know what happened to Blackberry and Facebook.

2) Take out Insurance:

This approach will give you an idea to see off or face-off, the demand-side and supply-side disruption. For demand-side disruption, you can do two things:

  • Before letting the disruptor disrupt, you disrupt yourself by creating a separate unit of your business and begin adopting innovations and inventions.
  • Have independent business formation for your disruption, though that can be challenging.

For supply-side disruption, you can consider:

  • Tighter integration, for example, if Blackberry challenged its engineers to make changes or introduce innovations when the iPhone disrupted them, it would have been tighter integration for their business.
  • Upon analyzing the disruptor’s new technology, you go for the new technology as well, ASAP.  

These approaches are not hard and fast rules but are definitely strategies to help you fight off or co-exist with disruption and competition alike.


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