The more things change ...

20 September 2021
Ossie Smiths Model Dairy Blue Mountains Library c 1925 CC BY SA 2.0

Alexa Forbes considers how environmental and technological changes disrupt business as usual.

Both environmental changes and technological changes are likely to be increasingly exponentially. It has been suggested that disruption to existing norms or expectations begins to occur at the point where exponential growth overtakes the more generally understood linear progression. The degree of disruption to business may be even greater as the two exponential curves, for environmental and technological change, converge.

Alexa interviewed representatives from six New Zealand organisations about what it's like to work under these circumstances. She found that technological evolution was highly disruptive with several organisations now exploring self-disruption as a defence strategy. Six themes emerged from her case studies:

  • Disruption is relentless and affects every sector
  • Organisations must disrupt themselves or be disrupted
  • It's messy and chaotic!
  • Partnerships are essential but not easy
  • Environmental disruption is generally less front-of-mind than technological
  • The term 'disruption' is accurate but overused and is perceived negatively

As a facilitator in Otago Polytechnic's Capable NZ, Alexa is exploring the implications for tertiary education in a future where everything is likely to be disrupted through systemic exponentiality.



May 2019

Image credit: Blue Mountains Library, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0)