This Jill Lepore article in a recent New Yorker questions the fad of chasing disruptive innovation. The mantra "if it doesn't disrupt, it can't be good" is one of the contributions the business world is pushing on higher education, and this article is encouraging us to re-examine some of the arguments made by advocates of disruption. Are all the cases of disruptive innovation really disruptive? Clay Christiansen, who is one of the gurus of disruptive innovation, cites disk-drive manufacturer Seagate as a company that first disrupted, then got disrupted - except, Lepore points out, that Seagate is alive and well, one of the leading manufacturers of disk drives today, while the companies that are cited as having disrupted Seagate out of business are the ones that are gone.
Lepore cites numerous examples from higher education of where "disruptive innovation" looks more like fad-following. Do the ways we've done things sometimes stay around because they work? Is it always best to chase the new thing?