This week I’ve been thinking a lot about disruption. I used to only think of the word ‘disruption’ as being something negative, but since its adoption as a term within the worlds of change and innovation, it is often now used to describe something positive.
The last two weeks have been incredibly disruptive for me. On a practical level, I’ve spent just two out of 10 working days in the office, nine out of the last 13 days sleeping in hotels, and only about 30% of my time doing things I consider to be standard parts of my job.
Call me middle-aged but I like a routine. Knowing what I am going to do and when helps minimise the amount of mental energy I have to use to navigate the day to day elements of life, freeing it up for more interesting things. It grounds me, gives me a sense of assurance and confidence that I know what I am doing, and overall, contributes to a sense of efficiency.
Consequently, I find disruption to routine very tiring, as I have to think about everything that little bit more. The last two weeks have been incredibly tiring, as I have constantly been dealing with new things – new people, new environments, new stimuli.
And that’s been the brilliant thing about it. We all need to be shaken out of our routines sometimes, and given the opportunity to think differently, to see things from a new perspective. I’ve said time and again that if we want to change the world, we have to find new ways of doing things, and disruption is one way of doing that.
So in the last two weeks, I’ve had multiple chances to spend time with people who have entirely different perspectives on the world (and the areas that I live and work in), to listen to their thoughts and ideas, and shift mine in response. I’ve spent extended amounts of time with artists, venue managers, business leaders, VCSE leaders and people who work in local authority, education, health and social care. It’s been a rich – and exhausting – two weeks, and it’s fair to say I’ve had my thinking well and truly disrupted.
The important thing now is what I do with that disruption. As I head back to my desk, my home and my routine, I’m taking new thoughts, ideas and plans with me. That’s how we continue to evolve as people, as leaders, as organisations and ultimately, as a society.