One of the best end-of-the-year “lists” we’ve come across is Businessweek’s The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History. We’ve loaded it onto our phone to read in spare moments about the influence of the Polaroid, whiteboards, contact lenses, smartphones, the sharing economy, bottled water, Power Point, Parkinson’s Law, Open Source, and Motown, to name a few. (Listen to Motown founder Barry Gordy’s personal playlist.)

It’s made us wonder about the word disruptive. In business, disruptive innovation “describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. ” 

On a simpler and more personal level, disruption could be thought of as radical change due to the introduction of a new idea driving a different way of doing things. 

As the year draws to a close, we’re taking stock:

Just what have been the most disruptive ideas and forces in our/your life?

Yves Klein/Shunk Kender
Yves Klein/Shunk Kender


Bottom photo: Le Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void); Photomontage by Shunk Kender of a performance by Klein at Rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, October 1960


If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

One thought on “Your History of Distruptive Ideas

  1. New cookie sheets were a disruptive force in my life. A few years ago I treated myself to new heavy duty semi-professional cookie sheets. They replaced the cheap ones I bought at the supermarket shortly after I moved out of my parents house. I had wanted these “fancy” cookie sheets for quite awhile and was excited to finally get them. I washed them and tried to put them away. I discovered they are a half inch wider than the old ones and wouldn’t fit in the cupboard where the old ones had been stored for years. So I put them in the drawer under the stove. Then I had to find a place for the things that had been in that drawer. And then a new place for things that the former residents of the drawer displaced. And so on. The result of simply buying new cookie sheets was a weekend-long total kitchen reorganization. I’ve since thought there should be a word or phrase for the unplanned “trickle-down” reorganization that one new item can cause. Maybe “Disruptive Organizing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *