Words-worth: Disruptive

The origins of the word 'disruptive'.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 25 Apr 2014

Be 'disruptive' in your industry and you'll be hailed as a visionary. Try it around the office and you'll be paying a visit to Jobcentre Plus. In his 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor Clayton M Christensen divided technology into 'sustaining' and 'disruptive'.

Disruptive innovations create a new market - think email, or the iPod, or social media - while destroying older businesses. To 'disrupt', literally, is to smash or shatter. Some people do that in meetings, but they might also be the ones who know how to do it to the opposition.

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