Managing in the Age of Disruptions

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday’s logic.”

By any measure, we are living in an era of transformational change brought about by digitalization, industry convergence, overlapping ecosystems, or inter-penetrating platforms. Such an era requires new approaches on the part of firms, regulators, market-players and the society at large to deal with ongoing disruptions and attendant changes.

Researchers need new ways to empirically study and theorize on such phenomena. Practitioners need novel reflective tools as opposed to simplified prescriptions, to help them better deal with disruptions proactively and reactively.

This is an invitation to both researchers and practitioners to explore what it means to research and manage in this era of continual disruption. No longer can we wait for phenomena to stabilize, or for all the data to be available before we begin our empirical analysis or theorization. Instead, business is always conducted in a ‘fog of reality.’ We are forever aiming at targets we can’t see, or that change as a result of things we do.

PERSPECTIVES ON DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS handles everyday experiences that speak to the accelerated pace of innovation in this era of continual change. Sometimes, innovations enhance the value of existing products and services. At other times, they render existing business models obsolete, disrupt value-networks, prompt providers to rethink who their customers are, and lead customers to rethink what they value.

What does it mean to manage in such a world of disruptive changes, and how might we research this phenomenon? We need to anchor, explore and extend the meanings associated with the concept of disruptive innovation. In particular, we need to understand the several perspectives on disruption – evolutionary, relational, temporal and framing – that culminate in a performative (as opposed to a predictive) approach to thinking about the phenomenon. In doing so, we need to open up the agenda for both researchers and practitioners.

How can we theorize and practice in and through a fog that seems to get thicker because of the things we do? Instead of offering a laundry list of research and practice topics, a generative way to approach this issue can be chosen.

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