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Both innovation and disruption sound great on paper for any business aiming to distinguish itself from the competition, but do audiences know the difference? Many companies – especially startups – make liberal use of these words that connote change and creativity but the result is a blurred business definition of both words that can be confusing.

What are the distinctions between them and what do they mean for businesses?

All Disruptors are Innovators, But Not All Innovators are Disruptors

While both labels bring to mind powerful, potential change-making, disruption veers off from innovation by creating seismic change that influences how people think, behave, conduct business and spend.

Some experts define disruption as an aggregate of several innovations that eventually tip over to the point where they spin off and create an entirely new way of doing things that eventually replaces an existing go-to option. Timely (and controversial) examples are how Airbnb has seemingly upended the hotel industry and how Uber is threatening to make traditional taxicabs all but obsolete in many major global cities.

Adopting a Strategic Approach

While it may be tempting to go full-tilt with your next big idea the moment it strikes you, think before you act. Disruption doesn’t equal chaos; it’s successful when all of the factors that affect your business are considered are combined with an organized approach.

Make sure you have a rock solid team. Building and executing your innovative, disruptive plan requires the right research skills and technology support to make it happen. Next, take a thoughtful look at your business and ask the important questions. Has your business been stagnating or has growth plateaued over the past six months to a year? Do you have the technological acumen to make a big change? If so, it may be time to take the leap.

Forecasting the Future

Stagnation is certain death for any business. Future-proofing your business means having a senior level-led predictive strategy to create real business breakthroughs that drive competitive advantage and revenue. Taking the temperature of the business landscape and predicating the next steps for future success means listening to customers, vendors, customers and other stakeholders in the supply chain.

Is your organization future-ready? Whether you’re approaching the growth of your business with smaller innovations or a significant market disruption, we would love to hear more about your experiences.