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Thriving on disruption

How to become fearless in the face of devastating innovation


Not so long ago, conventional wisdom suggested that organizations should “disrupt or be disrupted.” True, established companies are vulnerable due to the rapid pace of technological change—and the Fortune 500 is looking very different than it did not so long ago—but most Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) are prepared for disruptive innovation, aren’t they? Perhaps not.

When we asked more than 500 CSOs whether they were highly prepared for sudden industry disruption, only a minority, some 20 percent, said they were. Find out how the companies that manage to thrive on disruption act differently to the rest.


Companies that manage to thrive on disruption have the following characteristics:

Collaborate to grow

Partner more frequently—and with unusual pairings

Invest in platforms

Connect customers and business partners, at scale and on-demand

Operate with openness

Take concrete operational steps to be collaborative


                          Companies can choose to be disruption-ready.

Leaders must consider the broad market activities that serve a wide-ranging ecosystem.

Three imperatives to become fearless about disruptive innovation:

Do not face disruption alone.
Make yourself indispensable.
Embrace operational flexibility.


The Accenture Institute for High Performance surveyed 561 chief strategy officers between November 2015 and February 2016. Our goal was to identify the attitudes and behaviors of companies that reported being most prepared for disruptive innovation in their industries. The questionnaire was a combination of open-response interview questions as well as closed-response single- or multiple-choice selections. Participating CSOs represented companies headquartered in 10 industries and 11 countries, all with reported revenues of more than US$1 billion.


Paul Nunes

Paul F. Nunes
Global Managing Director


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Josh Bellin

Joshua Bellin
Thought Leadership Research Fellow


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Ivy Lee

Ivy Lee
Thought Leadership Research Specialist


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