Surviving Disruptive Technologies (On Demand)

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The purpose of this course is to help individuals and organizations survive when confronted with disruptive technologies that threaten their current way of life. We will look at a general model of survival and use it to analyze companies and industries that have failed or are close to failing. Examples of companies that have not survived include Kodak, a firm over 100 years old, Blockbuster and Borders. It is likely that each of us has done business with all of these firms, and today Kodak and Blockbuster are in bankruptcy and Borders has been liquidated. Disruptions are impacting industries like education; Coursera and others offering these massive open online courses are a challenge for Universities. In addition to firms that have failed, we will look at some that have survived and are doing well. What are their strategies for survival?

By highlighting the reasons for the decline of firms and industries, participants can begin to understand how to keep the same thing from happening to them. Through the study of successful organizations, we will try to tease out approaches to disruptions that actually work. Our ultimate objective is to develop a strategy for survival in a world confronting one disruptive technology after another.


-A Model and framework to help understand disruptive technologies

-Some examples of companies that were not able to survive disruptive technologies

-A company that did not survive and its disruptor

-Another story of disruption and a summary of our examples

-Newspapers are an important component of a democratic society; the Internet threatens them in a number of ways

-Social media has transformed the way people relate to each other, but it has a disruptive component that is worrying

-Two companies in this module are private and are very successful; a quasi-public agency has a hard time competing with them and their technology

-Conclusions about disruption

-Suggestions for how to respond to a disruptive technology

-Survival in the physical world