How to become disruptive

Disruption is nowadays everywhere - not just in the Silicon Valley. There is no meeting without the call for disruption, no marketing concept without reference to disruption and every new product needs to be disruptive. So you might find yourself wondering, do I have to become disprutive now too? And if so, how do I do it?

Disruption is relevant for all of us. An important aspect of it:


Have the courage to think differently. And to do things differently.

one opportunity is design thinking

It can help us to manage the complex tasks within the digital change and thereby focus on innovation and user centricity.

This user-centric approach puts users’ needs into the center of attention, is iterative, has no predetermined solution, and can be used for working on almost any type of challenge and for solving even complex problems.

The central element of the approach is the Design Thinking process, at the heart of which are 6 phases that lead to an elaborated solution approach that is represented by a tested prototype. The last process step is the implementation of the solution.

There is a large number of methods and tools that can be used to accomplish the process phases. However, these methods do not require a full-on Design Thinking project in order to be useful. Individual methods can also be used in other contexts, to enable us to do things differently and to achieve results that are different from the usual ones.

Getting disruptive answers on complex problems you have to ask the right questions.

A variety of innovative design methods can bring the design process to life. The following 3 methods are examples that are well suited for an application in everyday work life.

creative picture idea with a polaroid


Creative Reframing is a method for getting a common understanding of a problem statement.

  • generate a shared understanding of a problem within a team
  • clarify uncertainties and define common targets

Find more details here: Toolcard Creative Reframing

ask more questions


These interviews are structured dialogs with customers to understand who they are and what is important to them.

  • gain an in-depth understanding of human actions and needs
  • get insights into the everyday lifestyles and wishes of users in their natural environments

Find more details here: Toolcard Ethnographic Interview

design thinking


Personas represent typical customers that combine shared characteristics of a customer segment. They are no work of fiction but rather are based on empirical research data.

  • analyze user needs and requirements
  • put a tangible face to our users
  • make the adoption of actual customer perspectives (including needs and requirements) easier from the outset
  • make better decisions regarding design, propositions, roadmap, or customer care

Find more details here: Toolcard Persona

Design Thinking is more than a method for solving problems. It is a mindset and a specific attitude.

It characterized by a number of elements, for example

  • Working in interdisciplinary teams fosters extraordinary ideas, because different perspectives are combined
  • Failing early and therefore cheap enables us to learn from our mistakes at an early stage and to do better over the course of the remaining project
  • Prototypes and their testing with potential users will bring better results as we can get closer to desirable and feasible solutions step by step
  • Kill your darlings, i.e. to let go what you are attached to – even though it might be tough to do so. For example, when we realize through user feedback that the solution does not satisfy the user’s needs or whenever we have to revise our own assumptions after interacting with the users.

But is it all about becoming more innovative and sometimes also more disruptive, so that we can replace something established with something new? No - because the ability to respond to change and disruptions outside our organization is equally important, if not more. We have to protect our company from disruptive changes that are happening in the world outside. We can achieve this best by first acknowledging that our industry is not immune to radical change, and by becoming a diversified and agile organization that is able to learn and is transparent instead of sluggish and blind to the future.


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