DISRUPTION vs. INTERRUPTION vs. INTRA-RUPTION (Part 4) 

 Read parts 1 HERE, 2 HERE, and 3 HERE

J.E. Rash 

Let us take a look at the good intention of disruption.  It can be a time pause, a period of reflection and reformation, an opportunity to think creatively and a renewal of goals, energy, commitment, and loyalty.  Within a company and outside it, individually and collectively, this “time pause” is essential to development and growth.  How can we achieve these positive goals of transformative, creative and effective thinking and planning without the negative downsides of deconstructive disruption? 

I propose several approaches, beginning with the language we use to talk about this concept.

My humble suggestion begins with terminology. Instead of Disrupt, let’s replace it with S.T.O.P. which is in itself not a concept like disruption but describes the same process as well as lends itself to an acronym:  Strategies to Transform and Optimize Potential.  Be it individual potential or much broader corporate and societal dynamic.  This term avoids the negative implication of disruption and the terms often associated with it like, ‘blow up,’ ‘destruction’, or “digital or death.”

I believe we must STOP and reflect upon our old patterns (in case of business – the traditional approach) and beliefs. Sincerely contemplate and meditate on the way circumstances need to be approached. That can mean asking ourselves not only how products should be marketed but how profit can be linked with social good; how offices and staff can be organized to maximize potential, loyalty and innovation; how decisions and partnerships can be collaborative and mutually beneficial (quadruple bottom line thinking).

Rather than Digital Disruption, let’s talk about Digital Transformation based on challenging beliefs and integrating the new technologies and values and creating new business models in a constructive and affirmative way. Blogger Chris Riddell offers great insight into why it is so important to our thinking, language and approach on the topic of digital transformation, writing “The label we attach to it [an issue] affects both our intellectual and our emotional responses to it. Those labels are either meaningful and helpful, or misleading and damaging. (link to full article: http://www.cmo.com.au/article/564904/digital-disruption-isn-t-disruption-anymore-why-it-time-refocus-your-business/

Another way to reframe this idea is to promote interruption rather than disruption.  Let’s use the analogy of a speaker talking at a conference or in a meeting.  If you interrupt him or her, that is one thing. If you disrupt them, that is another thing. An interruption is a pause, a reflection, and can be constructive encouragement to look at things differently, to re-direct comments and thoughts in a better direction.  A disruption is destructive, emotionally charged, and can bring out defensiveness, entrenchment and ego.

What I call interruption would be stopping the flow of the external aspects of life for and internal change.  The goal of interruption is finding out where that structure is not functioning in the way it is supposed to… stopping something in order to reform it. When that is done consciously, with an intention and a purpose, the results should be constructive. But when it is done unintentionally, for selfish reasons or for the sake of disruption itself the consequences or side effects can often be negative.

If we teach people how to do it themselves, as a conscious intentional and respectfully used tool for development, it is an “intra-ruption.” It is for a purpose. If your life is structured for a spiritual purpose or goal, then you regularly interrupt your life for reasons, like prayer.  Spiritual or not, we all have rhythm to that that interrupts the “normal” flow of life (sleep, eating, exercise) and make us better able to function. When it is part of your natural existence, then it is transformative. When it is not part of the natural existence or value system, then it is not transformative.

To be effective, you always have to have an intention, a purpose for what you are doing. You have to be pretty sure that purpose is going to have good outcomes.

What is the framework for those good intentions?  In Legacy’s work, we frame it in a larger dimension called universal values. When you frame it in that framework, then you have a litmus test. You have a measuring tool for progress. Your growth continues, and it is called sustainability. Maybe you keep the name of the business, but you change your product. Maybe you redesign your product to look like something else. It used to be you were selling cars; but you have all this technology so it becomes an energy company. You transform it into something else. (Here’s an example: http://www.rimac-automobili.com/en/company/)

With that intention and framework, I challenge you (as I challenge my own staff) to ask the question, how do you keep positive interruption (intra-ruption) happening in the business, at the right time, the right place, and under the right circumstances? How many times do you go back and do your strategic planning? How many times do you rewrite your mission statement?  How do you  introduce the positive interruption into your day, at the lowest levels and in the most global way?

That is the challenge, and it’s up to you to take it on.

J.E. Rash is President and Founder of Legacy International (www.legacyintl.org). Mr. Rash’s career includes studies in law, cross-cultural communication, and comparative religion; work in advertising and media; and the design of training programs and curricula for educators, parents, and youths. He has traveled extensively throughout the US and to Greece, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, and Turkey to lecture on education, conflict prevention and resolution, dialogue, democracy and civic education, and inter-religious understanding.  His most recent book, Islam and Democracy, has been distributed in English, Russian, and Kazakh. He has also recently launched Legacy International Ventures (LIV). Drawing on four decades of regional experience, Legacy International Ventures is building a holistic business model that integrates values-based entrepreneurship with shared value for all stakeholders. Through people-based tools, a ventures incubator and digital technologies, we accelerate the efforts of social venturers to impact the most challenging local and global problems.