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A Disruptive Blog Post

I feel like I hear the word “disruptive” a lot in regards to the goals of web design. Especially as far as what companies are trying to do or what digital campaigns are trying to achieve.

I’ve been associating the word with a negative connotation…why would you want to be disruptive? Disruptive is the problem child who wreaks havoc in class or the person who screams obscenities due to Tourette’s (that one is actually super awesome). ANYWAY.

Webster’s defines disruptive as “to interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or problem.” But wait. The second definition says “relating to or noting a new product, service, or idea that radically changes an industry or business strategy, especially by creating a new market and disrupting an existing one.”

That second definition is the money shot. Now I get it. When orgs or brands say they want to be disruptive, they mean they want to blaze a new trail. They want to create something that changes the way things are done – something unique and different and innovative and groundbreaking.

It’s what highways did to railroads, what online streaming video did to DVD rentals, and what emails did to the post office. They disrupted the way things were commonly done by presenting new solutions that were so revolutionary, they made the old ways seem impractical…and eventually, obsolete-ish.

That said, to actually achieve disruption isn’t easy (or common, for that matter). And the process may actually resemble the problem child wreaking havoc more than the seemingly swift introduction of Netflix. When you successfully disrupt, you throw a wrench into the way things have standardly been done. And that can make people uncomfortable, inconvenienced, confused, and come out with blazing criticism.

Bygones. Disruption is ultimately what keeps the world moving forward. Go forth & disrupt.