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Technology reminds us that sometimes rules are made to be broken

| Market Forces

Adapted from an article written by Mitch Ilbury, Director of Mindofafox and Growing Foxes, and initially published on Fox Bytes – the Growing Foxes weekly newsletter publication, in the week of 28 May 2018.
Tech entrepreneurs believe disruption is key for innovation
The recent appearance of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before the European Parliament reminds us of the company’s founding motto: ‘Move fast and break things’. It has since become something of a mantra for tech entrepreneurs who believe disruption is key for innovation.
Disruption is both creative and destructive
Normally, innovation within an industry is incremental; and that industry evolves accordingly. Disruption, on the other hand, unsettles that industry by replacing a defining characteristic with something completely new and more efficient. So, it is both creative and destructive. In a way, disruption is evolution through revolution. The ride-hailing apps Uber, Lyft and Didi are classic cases in point. They have turned the traditional taxi industry on its head.
Tech-based companies are drivers of disruption because they can break rules
But why are tech-based companies so often the drivers of disruption? Because they are able to break rules. That may sound counter-intuitive, but remember, not all rules are the same. As all foxes should know, there are written and unwritten rules in any game. Written rules are laws and regulations – the difference between civilisation and anarchy. Unwritten rules are usually cultural characteristics, or they are determined by the limits of current technology. Therefore they can change.
Digital formats enable you to break the ‘you can’t do it’ unwritten rules
If written rules determine what we may not do, unwritten rules include what we cannot do. A simple example: school rules say you’re not allowed to take someone else’s lunch box; but that doesn’t mean you’re physically unable to do it. So, you may not, but you can. Conversely, no-one’s saying we’re not allowed to live under water; it’s the technology that says we can’t. Yet. And this is the reason why many disruptions come in a digital format: they break the ‘you can’t do it’ unwritten rules.
In the game of disruption, you can’t do something… until you can
Here are some examples: you can’t read the news unless you buy a newspaper; you can’t enjoy your photographs unless someone develops them; you can’t buy something unless you go to a shop; you can’t do any banking unless you go to a bank; you can’t test your blood pressure unless you visit a healthcare practitioner; and, more recently, you can’t travel in a car unless someone is driving it. In the game of disruption, you can’t do something…until you can.

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