In Part I, I said that implementing good management only could be BAD for your business. Now I’m offering some simple insights on how good companies can avoid failure due to disruptive technologies.

Thinking a little counter-intuitively CAN be good for business.


Realize that to protect our company’s future, markets that are not as profitable or as large need to be addressed and cannot be ignored.

Entering small, less profitable markets that could potentially grow to destroy our company is a must and should be considered as cost of doing business and keeping us safe. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In our case, “An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.”


Analyze and observe what customers do, not what they say.

A lot of customers tell us what they think they would want and make us create it for them. However, what’s important is how customers actually use our product as opposed to their impression of their use. If we understand how they use the product, then we know exactly what they’re looking for.


Evaluate, identify and rank any potential disruptive technologies in order of threat level.

Almost every market has disruptive technologies and any good manager should be aware and updated about the top 10 disruptive technologies in their industry. Establish a small team of analysts to rank and to keep on top of these technologies consistently — it’s a good start. The analyst reports should then be reviewed by senior management at least once every quarter to ensure that disruptive technologies are in check.

Step 4: INVEST

Invest in the top five disruptive technologies.

Develop an independent small team to serve and compete in the top markets of disruptive technologies or actively invest in leading companies currently engaged in the disruptive technology market. An independent team should be created to serve the disruptive market to ensure their resources and interests are properly aligned. Another option would be to invest in disruptive technology companies to allow us to acquire or merge with them should they become a significant threat.

Step 5: ADAPT

Adapt to the changing environment.

When involved in disruptive technologies, information is minimal, so making accurate planning and forecasting is difficult. The team that handles disruptive technologies should be dynamic, flexible and capable of adapting their plans quickly to take advantage of information as it comes up. Think of it as playing a game of poker in which the rules of the game are being written as the game goes on — meaning your royal flush is not the best hand until everyone says so.

For more information on disruptive technologies, check out the book “The Innovator’s Dilemma“.

Stay tuned for my next blog: we know that venture capitalists like disruptive technologies and invest in them. However, I will point out another crucial factor that could make you enough money to rival that of YouTube or Google.

Charles Lim

Charles Lim is on the information and communication technology (ICT) Advisory Services team at MaRS. He provides support and business analysis to technology and energy sector start-ups. See more…