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The Five Stages of Disruption Denial

Some lessons here for library leaders:

HBR Blog:

The Five Stages of Disruption Denial

“Stage 1. Confusion. We don’t quite get it. We sign up for the new app. We give it a whirl. Not really getting it. By this time, gurus are reassuring us that Twitter is the greatest thing ever. But that doesn’t help. We’re still not getting it. And so we turn to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Repudiation. It turns out there are lots of people who don’t get the new technology and now social life is a little like a competition to show that we’re not “falling for it.” At this point, there can more social capital in saying that we don’t like the tech than that we do.

Stage 2 is marked by snappy one-liners. With the practiced ease of stand-up comedian, we can now be heard saying stuff like, “Twitter. What could I possibly say in 140 characters?” Or, “FourSquare? Why would I want to be mayor of my living room.”

Stage 3. Shaming. This is when we are so persuaded that we’re right and the new innovation is wrong that we are prepared to make fun of the credulous among us. I was on the receiving end after I gave a presentation on new media to a large advertising firm. When I finished, three planners took turns patting me on the head and telling me, “This Twitter thing. It’s just a fad. Give it a couple of months and it will go away.” We heard a lot of this sort of thing about Pinterest in the early days. Now it’s valued at $2.5 billion.

Stage 4. Acceptance. By this time, the innovation is taking off. The middle adopters are signing on. It’s clear now even to us that Twitter is here to stay. Confronted by accomplished, irrefutable fact, we cave in and sign on.

And that brings us to Stage 5.

Stage 5. Forgetting. This is where we destroy the evidence. Now we are inclined to act as if we always understood and approved of a world installed with new innovation.”


Posted on: April 29, 2013, 6:48 am Category: Uncategorized