The ever present phrase in the ether is disruption. If your not disrupting—you’re not doing it right.
The term has been punkishly appropriated for the 21st century. Gone are the [wonderful] times of punk and anarchy we now have the networked power to disrupt culture en masse. But how do we do we wield this power for positive change?
Disruption is not purely about controlling current systems and beliefs, though to offer an alternative that uses existing models in evolutionary ways. As Greg Satell’s remarks in his recent article “This shift itself is apolitical, amoral. That’s why there can be both disruptors that set out to destroy, and disruptors that aim to create. The former are ego driven, seeking to replace the powers that be with a different version more to their liking. The latter are inclusive, working to create an alternative that outperforms the pre-existing model.”
Greenpeace in their award winning campaign against Shell and Lego does just this—it shifts an existing model into a ‘version more to their liking’. This power can be extremely provocative though fraught with side effects when offered without an alternative. Greenpeace (and other organisations with any agenda) does continue disrupt current systems flawlessly using existing technologies for mass exposure though offers no real alternative other than bullying Lego into ‘Ending its partnership with Shell’.
The concern surrounds organisations using power and influence to bully other organisations into shifting existing models. When vigilante organisations assert power to create a ‘version more to their liking’ rather than ‘working to create an alternative that outperforms the pre-existing model’ the consequences are immeasurable and volatile.