14.2 The disruptive bypass: the organization bypasses itself!


    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    – Buckminster Fuller

    In the culture of the Organization 3.0, there is no fear of change, even when the change is disrupting the market in general or when it disrupts the organization, itself.

    Designing or planning is one step; implementation is two, three, four or more steps…
    In the traditional economic model, we dealt with the limiting factors of means, people, and time, but we implemented both good and bad products and services. In the Interdependent Economy, the limitations have been replaced by opportunities – in particular, with transparency. At this juncture, I believe that you simply should not market a product if it does not reach the top. The new proposition needs to disrupt, in an economic sense, the current market. This (market) disruption has almost become a goal in itself when launching new products and/or services. You create your own Blue Ocean market, and make the competition irrelevant. However, mind the chasm.

    Geoffrey Moore’s classical book, Crossing the Chasm, deals with the gap between a product’s early adopters and the rest of a market. Written in 1991 and revised in 1999, he concluded that there was a “chasm” between the early market and everyone else. The essence is that the first users, the early adopters, are different than the rest of the market. These innovators (almost by nature) are comfortable with changing their behavior, and are eager to do so to get a jump on the competition. In contrast, early mainstream purchasers “want evolution, not revolution. They want technology to enhance, not overthrow, the established ways of doing business.” Later mainstream purchasers do not want to change at all; they do it because they have to. So, crossing the chasm, the gap in motivation of users (which results in a standstill), is a challenge. When you want change, look at it as a product with which you have to surprise your market, which includes your colleagues, your boss, or share- and stakeholders.

    At the start of WWII, the German Army advanced at an unstoppable pace. They used the Blitzkrieg model. Their mechanized advance guard was never tempted to delay and fight resistance. They maneuvered around the larger centers of resistance and then cut off their supply and communication lines. This tactic was enormously disruptive, and it was often too late before the enemy knew what was going on.

    Implementing an innovative, disruptive concept is not easy. A lot of resistance needs to be overcome. The existing organization needs to be brought on board. You have take into account the competition and stakeholders who have freedom of choice. It takes a lot of energy and time to beat the competition and to stay on the right side of the stakeholders. The result is usually not strong, and the victory is always temporary. There is an alternative. As it happens, you can bypass the establishment by using your innovation or new business model. Just like the German Army did.

    I call this movement the disruptive bypass.

    When implementing a new product or service, every organization can choose between the hard way and the smart way. I believe the disruptive bypass belongs in the latter category. Red Ocean – the hard way – is defined as changing an organization, or cornering a small stake in an existing crowded market, and so spending a lot of energy with little result to show for it. Blue Ocean – the smart way – is defined as launching a new product or service around the existing market with a “wow!” effect, and is a lot more effective. Moreover, a concept like this can appeal to people within the organization, the aforementioned new leaders, enticing them to join the new model. It is easier to create support this way, and those new leaders can “take” others with them from within the organization. The existing group will then shrink by itself, both physically and influentially, enabling the innovation to have full play, and, almost organically, a new organization will announce itself.

    A tip for global citizens you can apply this strategy easily if you hold a lower (management) position in a company or organization: Move around existing structures and just implement something new. This can be the launch of a knowledge group or an intranet site/service, or organizing trend sessions. Speakers and experts for these sessions can be found on the Web at little or no cost. Do not forget to invite your stakeholders! Or tell stories on the corporate message boards, comment on external blogs, start a wiki library with videos, text, and photographs about a topic, give Twitter training courses to your colleagues, organize field trips to other stakeholders, etc.… In short, do something – something unexpected and disruptive!