Disruption – a word we find so often buzzing around in the media, that we are starting to melt away its true meaning. So what does it now mean to truly be disruptive? Various attempts to define, dissect and discuss disruption were made at the recent Disruption Summit this month, which aimed to bring together leading ‘disruptive’ companies to explore cutting-edge ideas and enlightening perspectives. The day kicked off with a fascinating talk by Frazer Bennett who discussed ingenuity and the growing importance of an experimental mindset. Bennett considered how the younger generation has now developed an ‘inquisitive restlessness’, as millennials constantly engage and interpret an unprecedented amount of information. In the working world, we are witnessing a beguiling shift away from financial benefits to personal fulfilment benefits; with over a third of millennials now choosing culture and purpose over salary and monetary bonuses.
Whether we are now breeding commendable philanthropists or disillusioned idealists is questionable but we still must ensure that the younger generations are expending their fiery energy in the best possible way. Bennett argues that the experimental mindset is essential to positive disruption, and this ‘experimental’ mindset must put failure aside and prioritise innovation and constant invention. People too often reject ideas, worrying that they won’t ‘scale’ or prove profitable, yet too often scaling is a barrier to development. You need to therefore instead find your purpose, adopt an experimental mentality and then ignore the lingering worries of failure – only from then onwards will your positive ‘disruption’ ensue.
While this concept of ignoring failure and encouraging experimental attitudes appears refreshing and fruitful, there are societal constraints notably in education which inevitably hold it back. In an intriguing panel by inspiring young entrepreneurs, Alexis Monks, Paul Frampton, Rupa Ganatra, Nicholas Shekerdemian and Jack Parsons, they highlight that the current education system does not enable entrepreneurship and disruption. This is exemplified by The Telegraph who highlight that children currently speak for just 20 seconds in lessons, demonstrating no time for questioning, discussing or generating ‘disruptive’ debate.
Ideally, this needs to change as the digital economy requires young people to be entrepreneurs and pioneers, yet the education system currently does not facilitate this. While disruption in lessons was once a habit of class hooligans, it can now be initiated by those engaging with debates; those who envision themselves as thought-leaders and innovators of the future. One of the best ways to ensure creativity is through face to face communication, and now that we live in a world of constantly buzzing emails and mobile phones, this is becoming a dying art. Rupa Ganatra argues that she has no internal emails in her company in order to encourage her employees to actively engage with one another and argues that her productivity and sense of community has consequently surged.
With the shifts of many mechanistic jobs becoming automated, social skills and the ability to think out the box have never been more essential. The education system therefore needs to effectively bridge the gap between education and industry, raising children’s heads from their books and engaging them in the fast-paced world that surrounds them. In order to create an inspired, inventive and entrepreneurial future generation, we need to ensure a productive infrastructure, creative exploration and disruptive debate.
Overall the Disruption Summit demonstrates a mere taster into the emerging and enthusing companies that are disrupting traditional services across the globe. With a surging population, growing environmental pressures and an economy existing within turbulent political intervals, companies that can disrupt the status quo and inject original solutions are more essential now than ever.
Jasmine Eskenzi, Communications and Ecosystem Manager, Collider Health