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Keynote Speaker, Managing Partner, Author on Trends
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Responding to Market Disruptions? Get Ahead of the Next One!

by | Jun 21, 2019

Market Threat Assessments

Recent studies of senior managers have shown that being blindsided by a disruption is the largest unresolved concern in strategy development today. That fear is too often real because disruption typically begins where it is least visible to management- on the fringes of the existing target markets. And, once the disruption “pirate ship” is sighted on the horizon, not only is it probably too late, but companies react poorly.

Threat Responses

Research of corporate responses to disruption has shown that most companies ignore the threat, fortify existing positions or attempt to buy innovation. The first choice is not an option for an ongoing business. Fortification through distribution changes, product model proliferation and discounting only buys some additional time while wasting resources. Once a disruption enters the market, there’s little time for organic innovation efforts or “random acts of innovation” (Forbes) so companies often make acquisitions attempting to buy innovation.

Sadly, given the risk profile and limited experience in innovation, these are often sustaining innovations which are swept aside by the wave of disruption.

A very large example is when Microsoft fell behind in the lumia smartphone mobile market in 2014 and purchased Nokia, a weak player in mobile phones to get access to this market. The joint project, the Lumia phone, failed to catch on and Microsoft’s share fell by 50%- fail. Cisco tried to catch up with the photography trend by acquiring Pure Digital, the maker of low cost Flip cameras. Unfortunately, shortly after the acquisition, the high-resolution sensors included in smartphones took photography to a new level. Bye, Flip! Trend monitoring would have predicted this natural evolution as a high risk threat.

Anticipate Threats

Even in successful acquisitions, founders often leave the firm, losing the source of innovative ideas long term. (Time, Inc.)

To anticipate external changes, marketing departments have embraced big data as a powerful tool to help companies identify new markets and consumer preferences. These tools use the past to predict the short-term future which is reasonable in a steady market. The problem is that big data cannot accurately anticipate dynamic disruptions.

But, you and your staff can.

Uncovering market opportunities that can deliver improved returns at a manageable risk for the firm is the goal. New products will also generate an increasing percentage of revenue leading to continued growth. Companies that master this process have a long range radar to identify potential opportunities in a process called, “continuous innovation”.

What’s on your company’s radar today?

Spark Partners is here to help as your coach on trends and innovation. We bring years of experience studying trends, organizations, and how to implement. We bring nimbleness to your strategy, and help you maximize your ability to execute.

Let us do an opportunity assessment for your organization. For less than your annual gym cost, or auto insurance premium, we could likely identify some good opportunities your blinders are hiding. Read my Assessment Page to learn more.

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“Don’t plan for what you know. Plan for what you don’t know.”

Adam Hartung, Create Marketplace Disruption

How we can help
For more on how to include trends in your planning, I’ve created a “how-to” that you can adapt for your team.  See my Status Quo Risk Management Playbook.
Give us a call today, or send an email, so we can talk about how you can be a leader, rather than follower.  Or check out the rest of the website to read up on what we do so we can create the right level of engagement for you.

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