During the fond days of my youth, I recall many times when I was singled out by my school teacher for being disruptive in class. I thought that putting a blow fly down a friends back provided great entertainment to the rest of the class.  Somehow, I had the ability to make the entire class break into an unruly cheer at the most inappropriate times.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting with the CEO of a company based here in Auckland. She was talking to me about some of the challenges which her business had faced over the past 12 months. It became clear that the business had to retreat and weather the storm for a few months. This resulted in a smaller team and exposed issues around employee engagement. While the media reports improvement within her company's industry, there is little sign of such improvement on paper.

This got me talking about how the use of Social Media can be disruptive in a positive way. It provides a catalyst for rapid change.  Just think about how quickly things have changed in the past few years, a mobile phone is now a handheld computer with phone capabilities. Thanks to companies like Samsung and Apple, we've seen rapid innovation change the game. We have also seen a number of changes which haven't ended in technological improvements but changes in government. 

Think about the industry in which you operate.  When was the last time there was a disruptive change which took people by surprise and reignited the market?  What would it take to bring about such disruption? Do you have any idea? What is the risk of not being disruptive?

Today, there is data being generated en-mass right around the clock. With the use of some great tools, this data can be analysed and used to pick up on new trends. Through the interpretation of these trends new products, services and solutions can be successfully taken to the market. Data of this nature reduces the risk of unsuccessful innovation and therefore drives down associated costs.

I have found that community management which enables both employees and customers to collaborate, enables multiple parties to solve business problems and also uncover pressing needs.  Some Social Media experts call this sort of thing "crowd-sourcing"; bringing people together to develop thoughts through social collaboration. Exciting stuff!

Being able to change the way business is done (being disruptive) within your industry will enable your organisation the ability to become a market leader. The cost of not engaging with employees and customers, in this way, could be that competitor gains a significant advantage and possibly robbing you of your customers.