Disruptive Thinking - ANYTHING can be Disruptive

By Doug Brown

For those of us in a membership organization or service business, it is not enough to think that it is just products or new packaging that can be disruptive. We have to think in terms of service as well.

Marc Pritchard introduced the disruptive thinking topic at the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Innovation conference with this reminder - "Moore's Law says that computer power doubles roughly every 18 months. We better be practicing 'rapid learning' i.e. Do - Learn - Pivot - Do. We need to be measuring progress in hours and days not quarters."

I believe we need to stop long enough to anticipate the potential impact that insight could have on our members, customers, and competitors in the next 1-2 years.

David Taylor, Chairman of P&G, unabashedly put it this way, "When external change is happening faster than internal change you are on the road to irrelevance." Wow, is that a slap up the side of the head or what? It was for me.

David went on to say that we need to embrace the notion of "irresistible superiority." Our own members and prospective members must believe there is no better choice available for them than doing business with us and being part of our organization. In order to do that, we must "execute brilliantly" at every step along the way. Boy, that is some challenge. Think of the number of steps it takes to do everything in our organizations - from accounting procedures to running conferences and events, from delivering services and answering questions to understanding changing market nuances, etc. Even if we are small, the number of things to examine is staggering. I guess that is why there are so few organizations with the culture to create multiple billion dollar brands.

The other thing David mentioned was, “Anytime I hear people talking about the commoditization of an industry, I think that is just code for poor innovation taking place.” How often have you wondered if your segment is starting to be viewed as a commodity? Or worse yet, wonder if it really is viewed that way already, and you are not aware of it?

I have written before that I wholeheartedly agree with Professor Drucker who said, “The job of an executive is to think, change and operate.” That insight looks even more powerful now than ever.

Doug Brown is the 2017 Chair of NYSAE’s Membership Committee and sits on the Board of several 501(c)3 organizations. Paradigm Associates LLC works with senior leaders to help them think more strategically, lead more effectively, increase revenues, and take the right actions quicker.