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The myths of disruption

Julian Birkinshaw challenges misconceptions about new technology causing major upheaval for established companies

By Julian Birkinshaw 03 May 2017

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The notion that established industries will be disrupted by new technology is well known. But traditional businesses such as retail banks have stayed relevant by embracing online and mobile banking.

Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, says concern about longstanding companies facing major transformation in their industry is valid. But he argues that many emerging technologies will not be disruptive, as the retail banking sector demonstrates.  

In this film, Professor Birkinshaw debunks the myths of disruption and challenges the claim that every industry faces a major shakeup.


“The first myth is that every industry could face a Kodak-like moment where they completely disappear. But when you look at the reality of industries like hotels, taxi cabs and retail banking, what’s clearly going to happen is that the new technologies will co-exist with the established ones,” he says. 

Professor Birkinshaw explores other myths, such as companies failing to spot the challenges brought by new technologies and how they have to act fast or face extinction, in this video.

See related article on Forbes.

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Comments (2)

cagbakwuru978 1 years, 2 months and 25 days ago

Some countries in Africa where mobile Banks are operative (if there are any) is an Innovative Bank operations that creates opportunities for new operational system and strategy known as Freelancing.

Budd Margolis 1 years, 5 months and 4 days ago

In Africa mobile banking has taken the lead and provides much better service to many more people. It is not likely that Western traditional banks will keep pace. Many other industries are headed for significant disruptive market share loss and we have already seen Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebooks impact and they are the biggest disruptors on the planet. With many high street shops, shopping malls and city centres losing shops or closing down one would expect a more aggressive approach to the threat of disruption.