• Disruptors, disruptions and disruptive innovation

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    Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

    POLITICS today is in a state of flux. People want change and the norm is no longer what they want. They are not settling for incremental change unlike before. They want disruptions in the hope of securing a better tomorrow. Consequently, business as usual is not an attractive proposition to most. And with technological platforms, the quest for change politics is on overdrive. These are optics that are hard to untangle in trying to understand the pulse of the public.

    And Modi, Duterte, Trump, Macron, May (in negotiating the Brexit after bombing out in the recent UK elections) are disruptors. Would there be a new disruptor in Japan soon? China’s President Xi Jinping in Davos saying, “we Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity so we applaud the achievements of others and we wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others’ success and we will not complain about the others who have benefited. We will welcome them aboard the express train of Chinese development,” is the biggest disruptor occupying centerstage.

    A few weeks ago, a roundtable discussion was held on the subject of getting academics to think about having a metric introduced in the political lexicon as another way of measuring leadership. This metric is the love, care and solidarity (LCS) measurement. One has been measuring satisfaction, trust, preference, etc. for over 25 years now in our country. And as rightly pointed out by another Manila Times columnist, Yen Makabenta, approval as a variable has not even been measured. So, as echoed by one dean, “not everything we have tested before should box us today. We need to break free to understand new constructs. We need to disrupt what has been held as stable in order to understand what we have today.”

    LCS are political matters and comprise the concept of affective equality. How should a leader show one’s love and care to a constituent? How should voters express love and care to a leader? When do you say a leader is in solidarity with the wants and wishes of a voter and vice versa? “Pagmamahal, pagmamalasakit, pag-aaruga” are words we often hear when we discuss leadership-followership and yet we have failed to measure and understand these constructs.

    The concept of “affective equality is based on a number of key premises. First, it assumes that humans live in profound states of dependency and interdependency and are therefore relational beings. Second, it assumes that people are deeply vulnerable at several levels, corporeally, emotionally, socially, politically, culturally and economically. Third, it assumes that people are sentient beings, with relational identities and feelings (both positive and negative) and that these feelings and identities play an important role in informing normative rationality; relational feelings influence choices about what is good and bad, moral and immoral. It assumes the citizen is a carer and care recipient both in the public and the private domain of life so lay normativity is not the prerogative of the private sphere.”

    In an era of global disruptions, communications platforms rule. These “global, open, instantaneous communications network has become the de facto vehicle to control the operation and deliver propaganda to the media and the public. Video, graphics, website design, and disinformation, all prepared months in advance, as were the tools to enlist the unwitting cooperation of the masses drive things today.”

    “Every single bit of these manufactured realities from the ‘V’ for Victory sign, the Guy Fawkes masks, the adaptation of ‘Allah Akbar’ chants, the ‘World is Watching’ mantra, the ‘We Are Legion’ slogan, the ‘Expect Us’ warning, the organized global civil disobedience, and now ubiquitous cyber war, all stems from this one operation like the base of a oak tree. There is no more separation between any of these things or any of these operations masquerading as ‘spontaneous grassroots uprisings’ than there is between the trunk of a tree and its many varied branches.”

    Then there is disruptive innovation. It is a term in the “field of business administration which refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products, and alliances. From various categories, we have seen markets disrupted: academia, communicating, computer hardware, data storage, display, manufacturing, medical, music, photography, publishing and transportation.

    The disruptive process “can take longer to develop than by the conventional approach and the risk associated to it is higher than the other more incremental or evolutionary forms of innovations, but once it is deployed in the market, it achieves a much faster penetration and higher degree of impact on the established markets.”

    With the sweet spot coming in by 2018 and the Duterte administration launching a high octane #BuildBuildBuild, are we into a disruptive process? Will launching early, second year of a six-year term, prove to be beneficial to sustain the growth path already heralded by international observers as the hottest economy this side of the globe?

    Duterte as a disruptor has changed things both internationally and domestically. His disruptions are feeding into the base that has remained loyal and tight defenders of a common cause.

    A year of disruptions and where are we? Should we embrace it or be afraid of it because we do not know if the risks are all worth it? Truly, “a moment of disruption is where the conversation about disruption often begins, even though determining that moment is entirely hindsight.” Let us all have a good second year!

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