What is “Positively Disruptive”?

Yesterday I was told that a product we had created was positively disruptive (@smallstory). I like the sound of this, but what does it really mean?

The answer, when asked of the original purveyor of the phrase, stated that it was a good thing. And that is was a signal for change.

We (globally), in case you hadn’t noticed, are in an economic whirlwind. Not only that but we’re in “turmoil” with a change in society – driven by “digital”.

It would appear, from the explanation given to me, that in times of recession the businesses that do well are the ones that are positively disruptive – i.e they bring to the table a difference that is up-held by the need of the people.

Recession is brought on by a lack of confidence, therefore, if you reverse the lack of confidence you should get the return of confidence.

Being positively disruptive, in turn, disrupts the norm. And if the norm of the moment is recession then being disruptive is positive by nature.

  • Google: Positively disruptive to the old bastions of searching.
  • Virgin Airways: Positively disruptive to the old bastions of the Airlines.
  • The Web: Positively disruptive to the old bastions of Newspapers.
  • Streetcar/Zipcar: Positively disruptive to the old bastions of the Car Industry.
  • Online shopping: Positively disruptive to the old bastions of the High Street.

We could go on and on. We could include being positively disruptive to the humanity of the world, communications, caring, sharing etc etc.

In fact there is a lot of “positively disruptive” going on at the moment and it would appear, given a glance at history, that it works.

So it seems that we’ve created a “positively disruptive” product (maybe more by luck than judgement), but I like it, and I like the fact it is disruptive.

I remember my teachers stating that I was disruptive – I’m not sure they thought it was good though. :)


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