Yet, I feel like with every mention the very meaning of the word is fading more into obscurity. What would have once caught my attention will now likely go unnoticed and not disrupt my view of the industry at all. It’s quite ironic, really.
Unsurprisingly, there’s now even a mobile app that is able to replace the word with something else to improve the browsing experience.
Before you judge me, though, know that I am being provocative. I think there is a lot of value in the original concept of disruptive innovation by Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen (whose book How Will You Measure Your Life is a must-read), but just as much as research has since shown that Christensen’s theory isn’t infallible, the term itself has become a generic non-word used by up-and-coming businesses to hype up just about any idea that could attract angel investment. That’s not disruptive, it’s merely attention seeking.
The Guardian’s Leigh Alexander recently summarised the problem quite neatly, explaining that the academic idea behind innovative disruption was originally based on problem solving and improving the status quo. Taken out of context, disruption might not be much more than a “weird leering bull” ready to charge at the business world.
With that in mind, I am positively surprised whenever I come across a business that doesn’t advertise how disruptive it is, even though it does, in fact, disrupt the industry in a way that is truly revolutionary. You may expect such a chance discovery to happen in an electric mobility or autonomous driving context, but not so much in insurance. Yet, that’s exactly where I’ve come across it.
When talking to NTI’s data expert, Owen Driscoll and his colleague, Craig Carmody, for our annual insurance and repair special, I came to realise just how much of a positive impact the insurance company has made on the smash repair industry at large. By standardising processes and making them more transparent, it has set a new quality benchmark for an entire industry – giving transport businesses peace of mind that in the rare worst-case scenario of a crash, a best practice protocol is in place to ensure both people and equipment are being looked after the way they should be. They don’t even leave the spare parts purchasing to chance.
Leading repair businesses such as Wales Truck Repairs and the Royan Group have readily embraced that approach and helped bring a new level of professionalism to an industry that had long suffered from an aura of opacity – to me, that’s exactly the kind of disruption we need. And, they didn’t even have to point it out.