Causing Disturbance? Then You’re On The Right Track!

Ansgar Ruhnau

“Disrupt [verb, lat. Disruptus]: interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing disturbance or a problem.”

This is the dictionary definition. And this very well reflects what many people think about the constant repetition of the buzzword disruptive. Why do we constantly redefine ourselves and burn down existing systems that are proven and running well?

The answer lies in human nature. The ability to adapt to extreme situations and life-changing events has made us strong and enabled us to dominate the earth. Human beings today live in the desert as well as at the North Pole. No matter how extreme situations are, and no matter what event or change comes our way, sooner or later we adapt and grow comfortable with it. This is called the “Hedonic Treadmill” – the fact that following positive or negative events, human beings tend to quickly return to a stable state of happiness. If you buy a new car, for example, you will be happy for a few days, but very quickly it will become the new normal.

Translating this to business: Any invention, no matter how innovative or game-changing, will become a commodity in a short time. Just think of the smartphone. A great innovation—nowadays everyone has one, and the market is full of competitors. And that defines the speed of today. Businesses are accelerating their development cycles to deliver new innovations and gain a cutting-edge experience for customers. Resting means falling back. It is like an elevator that constantly speeds up.

Thus, optimizing existing structures and building strategies on existing business models is simply not enough. We need to find new business models, think out of the box, and yes: be disruptive. Otherwise, we will not be able to deliver on the growing expectations of our customers. This is all about being confident enough to leave your own comfort zone.

You can tell if you are on the right track if you are causing disturbance.

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Disclaimer: Please note that all statements are my personal views and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the ones of my current employer.

Ansgar Ruhnau

About Ansgar Ruhnau

Ansgar Ruhnau is an HR business partner at SAP and has a track record in various HR functions. His vision is to build the best organizations for people to live and work together. Ansgar is an upright HR professional that is enthusiastic to discover new things and lead us to the next chapter of how work is performed. He joined SAP in 2010 in a talent program and started his career in Global People Sustainability. He later joined the HR team in Germany as an HR business partner responsible for more than 400 employees. Today, Ansgar is inheriting multiple roles with HR for EMEA and MEE regions at SAP, lately as HR Director for SAP Netherlands and SAP Spain.