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The Disruptive Issue II (Winter 2019)

In this issue of Rotman Management, we put disruption in the spotlight and examine the strategies and mindsets of some of the most successful innovators, disruptors, and entrepreneurs.

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Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

IF YOU OPENED THIS MAGAZINE feeling confident about your leadership skills, consider this: According to McKinsey’s study of 80,000 leaders, 77 per cent believe they do a good job of engaging their people and fostering productivity; yet 82 per cent of employees disagree. Worse yet, more than one third of employees — 35 per cent (!) — would gladly forgo a pay raise to see their boss fired....

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Feature Articles From this Issue

Feature articles from Rotman Management magazine can be purchased individually as PDF documents. 
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  • (FREE) AI, Automation and the Future of Work

    by James Manyika and Kevin Sneader

    There is work for everyone today and there will be work for everyone tomorrow. But that work will require new skills and a high degree of adaptability.





  • Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence: Prediction vs. Judgment

    An interview with Joshua Gans by Karen Christensen

    The author—the Chief Economist at the Creative Destruction Lab—argues that recent developments in artificial intelligence constitute advances inprediction.Prediction occurs when you useinformation that youhaveto produce information that you do not have. In a wide-ranging interview, he says that importantly,this is all machine learning does. It cannot establish causal relationships and therefore it must be used with care in the face of uncertainty and limited data. As a result, he explains why workers will be making more complex decisions going forward, and why there will always be a role for human judgment in every organization.


  • Thought Leader Interview: Rita McGrath

    by Karen Christensen

    The high degree of change in today’s environment demands thatorganizations adapt their strategy to new situations much more frequently than ever before. Yet in a world of ‘transient advantage’, too many companies are obsessed with traditional industry analysis and continue to define their most important competitors as the other companies within their industry. In a wide-ranging interview, the author shows that this is a very dangerous way to think about competition right now. In more and more markets, we are seeing industries competing with other industries, business models competing with other business models — even within the same industry — and entirely new categories emerging. She describes the new mindset required to thrive in an age of transient advantage, explaining the roles of ‘continuous reconfiguration’, healthy disengagement and more.


  • Behind Every Breakthrough is a Better Question

    by Hal Gregersen

    If you trace the origin of any creative breakthrough, it ispossible to find the point where someone changed the question. The author—who co-wroteThe Innovator’s DNAwith Clayton Christensen—shows that questions can do amazing things: Knock down the walls that have been constraining your thinking; remove one or more of the ‘givens’ in a line of thinking; and open up space for inquiry that had been closed off by narrow framing. He provides a three-step framework for asking better questions and re-framing issues, showing that if you can properly phrase a question, the answer is the easy part.
  • The Economics of Autonomous Vehicles

    by Opher Baron, Oded Berman and Mehdi Nourinejad

    Most of the big car manufacturers now have an automatic vehicle (‘AV’) division and expect to make the technology available to the mass market as early as 2025. And by the year 2045, AV market share is predicted to be as high as 87.2 per cent. The authors share findings from their study of 55 cities worldwide that are taking a holistic approach to implementing multifaceted AV policies—covering everything from traffic rules to land use, ride sharing and taxi reform.They describe the progress made to date and the key challenges that lie ahead as consumers, cities and regions embrace this disruptive technology.
  • From Intuition to Algorithm: Leveraging Machine Intelligence

    by Howard Yu

    Managers often express a grave concern about how fast artificial intelligence is unfolding — so fast that they become afraid of committing to any one supplier or standard. But precisely because we are living in a world of accelerated change, it is critical to stay in the know. The author describes some of the key concepts that every manager should be familiar with in the ‘second machine age’. In the end, he shows that companies can no longer claim conventionaladvantages by virtue ofbeing ‘vertically integrated’; instead, they will be under tremendous pressure to match smaller players that are able to deliver customized solutions in real time as orders are made. In other words, in the second machine age, big companies need to act small.
  • The Innovator's Mindset: Radical Can-Do

    by Ricardo Viana Vargas and Edivandro Conforto

    The most innovative organizations realize that the best strategy in the world will get you nowhere unless you relentlessly make it happen. They show that the relentless execution of innovation has five key characteristics: clarity, focus, commitment to change, acceptance of failure and close proximity to customers. In the end, they show that getting things done with a relentless can-do attitude demands a degree of bravery that few organizations demonstrate; and that, as indicated by the stories of Amazon, Netflix, Haier and many others, fortune truly does favour the brave.
  • Switching On Creativity


    by Jackson G. Lu, Modupe Akinola and Malia F. Mason


    It is widely accepted that creativity influences critical organizationaloutcomes. Yet many practitioners struggle to design work routines that foster creativity. In response to this ‘knowledge gap’, scholars have increasingly studied job design factors that enhance or hamper creativity. The authors focus on one under-explored job design factor that may influence creativity: task switching. They show that, by forcing individuals to temporarily put tasks aside, a ‘continual-switch’ approach elevates creativeperformance by alleviating the tendency to cognitively ‘fixate’ on ineffective ideas or problem-solving strategies.

    • Fighting Fragmentation in Healthcare: A Modest Proposal

      by Will Mitchell


      The core challenge in healthcare is not a lack of funding, commitment or individual skill. The key issue that demands disruptive innovation is that healthcare systems are highly fragmented. The author argues that the best solution is for healthcare vendors to engage more actively in the system as value chain partners. Actors across the healthcare value chain need to improve their public perception, and one way to achieve that is to work together in stronger partnerships. He explains why commercial vendors offer key knowledge and appropriate incentives as central actors in these partnerships.

    • The Next Disruptive Wave: Human Augmentation

      by Andrea Potter, Gautam Jaggi and Prianka Srinivasan

      The combination of artificial and human intelligence will not only drive breakthrough discoveries, it will also free employees from mundane work. Already, human creativity and judgment augmented by the computational power of AI has led to breakthroughs in energy generation and storage, drug therapies and space exploration. Next, it could yield solutions to some of humanity’s most intractable problems. And what lies beyond could be even more transformative: A convergence of information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology that promises to overhaul the very definition of what it means to be human.
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