Where Will Disruption End?

The world is changing, and it’s changing faster and faster.

Daniel Liberman, a senior vice president, strategic initiatives, at Essilor, offered this thought earlier this month at the SECO conference in Atlanta, where Essilor was hosting “town hall” meetings to answer questions and talk about its recently announced plan to combine with Luxottica.

In reality, however, this comment could have come from just about anyone in business today. Yes, change is a constant factor in everything we do, but what’s different today is the speed at which revolutionary ideas are becoming mainstream. There’s even a word for it: disruption.

Think Netflix, Uber and Spectacles, to name a few. Yes, we have Snap Inc.’s Spectacles on this list because the concept helped, to some degree, the company reach a valuation of $33 billion at its stock market debut in early March.

Big ideas are ruling the day, and even many old, venerable brands see the peril of clinging to the status quo.

Macy’s and J.C. Penney, two department store stalwarts for most of the last century, are desperately searching for a business model that will allow them to stay relevant in the 21st century. The companies are each expecting to close 100 or more stores this year as they work to maintain store traffic at a level that supports profitability, while investing in online initiatives that attract today’s consumers.

In health care, there are questions about telehealth and how it will shape patient care—particularly eye-care. Indeed, many new technologies already are upending the model in optometry.

There’s even an example of disruption in sports. The New York Yankees, who for much of their recent history sought the top proven players to bolster their lineup, in 2017 have turned to nurturing youngsters from the minor leagues in hopes they will become stars.

So, regardless of business sector or pastime, it’s time to think disruptively about just how you want to play ball.