Decoupling is the newest wave of digital disruption

By Grzegorz Piechota

Harvard Business School

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Disruption comes in waves, and it is customers who disrupt markets, not the start-ups.

Looking for a response to digital disruption, companies need to think about how to address the disruption as a process, rather than focusing on individual companies like Facebook or Google.

Having studied disruption patterns across industries, from unbundling to disintermediation, Professor Thales Teixeira of Harvard Business School identified an emerging new wave of technology-enabled disruption called decoupling.

Teixeira is going to give the keynote presentation at the upcoming INMA World Media Congress in New York on May 21-23, 2017. 

Teixeira studies patterns of digital disruption across industries such as media, retail, transportation, food, cosmetics, and finance. At Harvard Business School, he teaches MBA courses on digital marketing strategy and e-commerce.

I work with Teixeira as his research associate. We met at his Boston office in March to talk more about this new wave of disruption. Here is a five-minute, edited version of the interview.

As Teixeira explains, the digital disruptors decouple, or break links between, consumer activities that have traditionally been offered together, like viewing content and advertising.

At a time when users are disrupting publishers’ advertising revenue models with ad blockers — or increasingly accessing news on social media — his new theory provides a lens to understand the hidden patterns of these shifts, predict future disruptions, and defend the publishers’ business.

For the boldest publishers, Teixeira prepares a recipe on how to disrupt others. He is going to present the recipe in New York in May.

About Grzegorz Piechota

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