In the second part of our exclusive three-part series, former LEGO risk manager and current principal consultant at AKTUS, Hans Læssøe, and principal consultant at Risk Insight Consulting, Gareth Byatt, tell us why disruption is old news

Disruption is an oft-used ‘word of the day’ in business, but much of what is happening has already occurred before; albeit in a different and slower way, but similar patterns have occurred before.

Think about these examples:

  • The Romans disrupted government by introducing bureaucracy
  • Gutenberg disrupted publishing by inventing printing (“What? We allow the masses to read? Surely that will lead to problems!”)
  • Ford disrupted personal travel and industry with the assembly line
  • The early telecoms companies disrupted the whole medium of communication
  • IKEA disrupted the furniture industry
  • Apple disrupted the mobile phone and music industry
  • Airbnb is disrupting the hotel industry
  • Crypto currencies are disrupting parts of the finance industry

The world has always seen significant change through the ages but now we now call it ‘disruption’. There is a reason the current industrial changes are called the fourth industrial revolution – and that is just within industry and commerce.

The key thing about today’s fourth industrial revolution is that disruption is occurring more frequently, faster and has a more immediate effect than it has in the past. Much of this is due to the inter-connected nature of how we all live and work (and benefit from). Some say that in 2017, more data will have been created than what mankind managed to create in the previous 5,000 years. More than half of the scientists and researchers in the history of mankind are alive and working today (some believe the figure is as high as 90%).

Currently, most disruption in business is based on the digitisation of actions, processes and services, which also enables a sharing economy where ownership is not a prerequisite for use.

Few saw the increased automation of the factory floor as anything but sound efficiency gains. Today, automation is moving into the offices and affects business strategies – and now everyone sees potential burning platforms.


In our final part next week, we find out why prosperous times lay ahead for risk managers and how to drive them