Is Donald Trump Disruptive? Ask these 6 Questions

Donald Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States at noon today.  He has definitely upset the traditional election process and surprised many established politicians and media leaders with the win.  In the process, he had done things differently, violating many of the traditions and practices that has left the mainstream wondering and worrying about the results.

Many are claiming he is destructive and will ruin our world reputation and domestic policies.  I’m not here to discuss that.  Instead, I want to shift our focus and ask a different question.

Is Donald Trump Disruptive?disruptive-trumpscaled

Don’t answer that right now.  

Here are the 6 questions for us to consider based on Clayton Christensen’s criteria for disruptive innovation.

“A disruptive innovation is a technologically simple innovation in the form of a product, service, or business model that takes root in a tier of the market that is unattractive to the established leaders in an industry.”

Clayton M. Christensen

First, is he solving the problems?

This is the question that so many people are pondering and projecting – but much too early.  The hard truth is that we won’t know whether or not he is effective for some time.  The full effect of a president’s agenda often take years if not decades to be measured accurately.

Disruptive innovations are marked by lower gross margins in the beginning.  Disruptive ideas, I argue, are often very unpopular in the beginning because they are not mainstream.  I suspect we will have to wait to see what the results are before judging whether he is disruptive.

Second, does he make the solution easier?

To be a disruptive politician, Trump not only needs to solve problems but must make the solution easier than the current model.  Often in politics and business new solutions are offered but they are not any easier – just different.  We should know the answer to this pretty quickly.

Third, does he make government less expensive?

Better – Faster – Cheaper is the mantra of innovators.  Can President Trump make government less expensive?  He might lower the overall cost but the real question is, “Can he offer the same value at a lower price?”  Any good business person knows that it really isn’t about price but about value.  Can he provide the same value for less?

That begs another twist to this question.  Any innovator knows value is most important but cannot ignore price.  Is the price lower?  If the price is not lower, it won’t appeal to the masses and will never bring the innovation into the mainstream.

Fourth, does he  fundamentally change the way the country is governed?  

Disruptive innovation is marked by changing the process so radically that no one wants to go back to the old way of doing things.  Will Trump’s administration be “business as usual” with a different twist or will it change the way future politicians govern?

Fifth, does he target those who currently have not been engaged in government activities? 

Media, political pundits and the general public were surprised when Trump won in part because poll’s neglected previously disengaged in the process.  So far Trump seems to have met this criteria but will it continue?

Sixth, did he become mainstream?

The Founding Fathers were disruptive because they started a worldwide trend for Independence and democracy.  There has been a trend around the world with the Populist movement.  The question is, “Is this a temporary or lasting development?”  As we examine Donald Trump in an objective manner, we look to see if his policies have been accepted by those that initially dismissed him.  Has his ideas caught on so that the new followers never want to go back to the old way of doing government.  In other words, “Has that questionable product become valuable and popular to the majority?”   Many claim the know the answer but, again, we must wait and see.  Many opponents to disruptive innovation have said, “This will never last” only to be proven wrong.

So we watch.  In the meantime, let’s ask ourselves a couple of critical questions.

  • “Are you a disruptive leader?”
  • “Do you want to be?”  

If so, contact me today.


Be Decisive

Become the Disruptive Leader

I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to become disruptive leaders.  They appreciate how I ask the pertinent questions and help them to think differently and disruptively.  If that is your desire, contact me today.

Checkout my online leadership platform.  Power Universityimage

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