A Peer-Submitted Best Practice

Stop Thinking Disruptively, Start Thinking Pragmatically

There seems to be a popular opinion that disruption is always a good thing and always necessary, but neither notion is true.

First, disruption must be considered in relation to the context in which you operate; what may seem disruptive to one company or industry may not be as critical to another.

Second, relying on “disruption” as a strategy or plan immediately creates a mindset based on the assumption that what every company needs, and what every team member needs to produce, is that magical billion-dollar idea that alters the foundation of everything we know about a business, concept, or approach—a cataclysmic burst of creativity that rocks the world. The fact remains, however, that these events are rare. Instead, when disruptive changes occur, they are usually the result of a long chain of events.

When leaders are on the hunt for billion-dollar ideas, the concept of moonshots takes precedence over small, measurable milestones. In the process, teams often lose touch with reality, focus on the high-tech flavor of the month, miss out on opportunities to innovate, and, in the end, fail.

As a leader, you need to focus on a clear vision, pragmatic strategy, and execution in small, measurable milestones. Rather than thinking and innovating disruptively, think about disruption, and understand how innovation can help create opportunities from the changes taking place around you. Don’t start big; start small. Measurable execution over time creates experience, credibility, and true innovation.


Be pragmatic; not all innovations need to be “disruptive.” Your goal as a leader is to create a culture that understands and recognizes disruption, while focusing on a balanced strategy through reasonable goals and execution in small, measurable milestones.


  • Instead of “thinking disruptively” think pragmatically.
  • Work with disruption to find new opportunities to create value and solve problems.
  • Execute on strategy in small, measurable milestones.
  • Build on past successes and failures through a steady, incremental approach.

About the Author

Alex Goryachev is an award-winning global technology strategy executive and a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Fearless Innovation: Going Beyond the Buzzword to Continuously Drive Growth, Improve the Bottom Line, and Enact Change,” whose resume reads like a brief history of digitization.

Over the past 20 years, Alex made it his business to turn disruptive concepts into successful ecosystem-centric business models. He has an extensive track record of building and leading global cross-industry business and technology teams focused on strategy, revenue, and market share growth, increasing customer acquisition and profitability through new digital products and offerings. The co-innovation programs that Alex created continuously reinvented the capabilities of the Internet by empowering employees, building ecosystems, and creating new offerings inside and outside traditional product and partnership portfolio.

Photo of Alex Goryachev

By Alex Goryachev

Global Technology Executive & WSJ Bestselling Author of “Fearless Innovation”

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