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The Disruptive Issue (Fall 2016)

Disruption knows no industry boundaries; for today’s leaders, it isn’t a matter of IF their business will be disrupted, but WHEN. Learn the thinking and mindsets that will prepare you for a disruptive business environment in our latest issue.

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Feature Articles From This Issue

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Machine Learning
  • Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence
    by Ajay Agrawal
    For most people, it is not easy to picture the buying and selling of cognitive capabilities that have traditionally been embedded in humans—things like judgment and decision-making. Yet, thanks to recent advances in machine learning, the author argues that precisely such a ‘market for intelligence’ is on the horizon. Given the potential of this market to transform the entire global economy, he argues, leaders and organizations must begin preparing for its emergence—now.
Disruption Dillema
  • The Disruption Dilemma
    by Joshua Gans
    Using Blockbuster as a prime example, the author describes the three paths to disruption for a modern business. He also explains three seminal theories of disruption: those of Schumpeter, Christensen and Henderson, and concludes that there are two key types of disruption: innovative and architectural. In the end, he shows that successful firms that are disrupted are not necessarily poorly managed: instead, they choose to continue on the path that brought them to success.
Goodbye Linear
  • Goodbye Linear Thinking: Hello Exponential!
    by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
    Humans and businesses alike evolved in a world that was local and linear. But today we live in a world that is global and exponential. The problem, say the authors, is that our brains—and thus our perceptual capabilities—were not designed to process at this scale or speed. Using the example of Kodak’s downfall, they show that our linear minds literally cannot grasp ‘exponential progression’. They present a framework called ‘the Six Ds of Exponentials’, which is designed to help today’s leaders navigate ‘the age of exponentials’—and avoid being disrupted.
Creativity Clusters
  • Creativity, Clusters, and Why Your Barista Has Mixed Feelings About You
    by Roger Martin, Richard Florida, and Melissa Pogue
    The creative intensity of the global economy has grown substantially in recent years. However, ‘Creative Class’ workers are increasingly being propped up by a mass of hard-working routine workers, who are not participating in the economic upside. To prosper in the global economy, the authors argue that every region and industry must boost the creative content of all types of work, while continuing to encourage and support the growth of creative jobs.
Redesigning Work
  • Redesigning Work in an Era of Cognitive Technologies
    by David Schatsky and Jeffrey Schwartz
    Rapid progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has provoked intense debate about the implications of this trend for the modern workplace. Some see a driver of economic growth and boundless opportunities to improve living standards; while others see existential threats ranging from killer robots to widespread unemployment. The authors argue that employers face four choices when it comes to the automation of jobs: replace, automate, relieve or empower. They discuss the pros and cons of each, and the skills that will be most valuable in an increasingly automated work environment.
Blurring Lines
  • Blurring the Lines: Preparing for Convergence in Health and Life Sciences
    by Kais Lakhdar, Georgina Black, and Will Mitchell
    Consumers of healthcare services throughout the world are imposing strong demands for efficiencies. At the same time, unconventional competition is arising from newly-converging technologies and services, creating a platform for transformative change in healthcare quality and access.  The authors show how this disruption is challenging existing actors in the healthcare sector while at the same time, creating massive opportunities to create profitable businesses.  More than ever, they argue, commercial players are at the centre of the opportunity to achieve a stronger balance of quality, cost and access to healthcare services
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
    by Klaus Schwab
    Technological innovation is on the brink of fuelling momentous change throughout the global economy, generating great benefits and challenges, in equal measure. So says the chairman of the World Economic Forum. He describes what he calls ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, which is based on three sets of megatrends: physical, digital and biological.  To thrive in this environment, he argues that public-private research collaborations should increase, and that they should be structured towards building knowledge and human capital to the benefit of all. 
Think You Can Innovate
  • So You Think You Can Innovate?
    by Andrew Atkins and Michael Seitchik with Zia Zaman
    To be an innovative leader, you don’t have to come up with all the ideas. You just have to set the stage for others to push boundaries, every day. So say the authors, who assessed more than 700 senior leaders using a multi-rater assessment called the Bates Executive Presence Index (ExPI™). They present their findings on the specific behaviors that leaders demonstrate to foster innovation, which include challenging other points of view in a constructive way and admitting they don’t have all the answers. They conclude that, instead of shying away from differences, innovative leaders make it safe—and fun—to have a clash of perspectives. 
Leadership Forum
  • Leadership Forum: Machine Learning 101
    by Karen Christensen
    In this excerpt from the University of Toronto’s Conference on Machine Learning and The Market for Intelligence, senior leaders from Uber, Bloomberg Beta, Stanford and AME Capital discuss how firms are embracing machine learning and artificial intelligence to either disrupt others or avoid being disrupted. They provide a cross-section of viewpoints on strategies to navigate what is becoming an increasingly disruptive economy. 
  • The Networked Organization: How to Turn Relationships Into Competitive Advantage
    by Charlie Brown
    Even in our global, technology-fueled economy, the authors argue that the quality of a firm’s relationships—with customers, employees and suppliers—continues to be the single-best predictor of long-term success. The most deeply-networked organizations—like Wikipedia, eBay and Airbnb—soften the line between customers and employees to offer a wide range of relationship options, from ‘strictly transactional’ to ‘enthusiastic participation’. This blurring of roles also influences the organization on the inside, improving employee retention by creating an environment where open communication and personal agency are encouraged.
  • Disrupting Financial Services: An Interview with Peter Aceto
    by Francesco Bova
    The CEO of Tangerine—formerly ING Direct Canada—describes his approach to leading and creating a disruptive business model in one of the most traditional industries: banking. In this wide-ranging interview, he explains how the culture he created embraces divergent views and encourages novel thinking. He also describes what happened when his firm was acquired by one of Canada’s big banks (Scotiabank), and how the culture of disruptive innovation lives on at Tangerine.
  • The World's Most Innovative Companies: 4 Things That Differentiate Them
    by Michael Ringel, Andrew Taylor and Hadi Zablit
    The authors present research indicating that four key attributes are critical to a robust innovation strategy: an emphasis on speed; the use of technological platforms; well-run (and very often lean) R&D processes; and the systematic exploration of adjacent markets. They discuss how to accomplish each and present examples from the world’s most innovative companies, including Zara, GE and W.L. Gore.



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