Confronting the disruption paradox

May 17, 2021

We live in an age of disruption. New technologies are dramatically transforming the ways in which we lead our professional and personal lives. New centers of economic and geopolitical power are emerging. Demographic, societal, and environmental forces are reshaping the world. The pace of change is accelerating, and it is relentless.

It should be no surprise then that the disruptorsthose companies that serve as catalysts for so much change across industrieshave acquired iconic status. Their share prices enjoy premium multiples. The musings of their leaders are followed by millions and can drive markets. Unlocking their secrets has become a cottage industry for consultants and journalists alike, while identifying the next wave of disruptors consumes many an investor.

But what about those that are faced with the less glamorous task of transforming their legacy businesses in the face of disruption? Much less attention is paid to their challenges, which are frequently more complex than those of new entrants starting with a blank slate.

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