Innovation Versus Disruption. More Than One Way To Kill A Fly!

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There’s a lot of chatter these days about disrupting practices in business. Someone comes along with a new idea that changes the way we look at things – new products or services that challenge established ones and cause some consternation among those companies who have been hitherto happy to coast along [a phrase that could be replaced with a single word: complacent].

If you’re complacent, then at worst, a new and innovative approach can be anathema to you and you’ll ignore it. At best, it will make you feel awkward but anxious to see where these changes can lead you. But simply because something challenges the way you’ve done things, made things or sold things in the past, it shouldn’t mean disruption in the accepted sense of the word. Its Latin origin dirumpere – to dash to pieces – is grossly misleading.

Better to look at it this way:

Disruption becomes Challenge becomes Innovation.

Innovation is a new way of looking at things. Grasped fully and enthusiastically, it means you can adapt and change to make things better and more efficient [the products you make, the markets you target, the services you provide] as a consequence of meeting up with the new kid on the block.

Let’s look at an example from the past.

In Victorian times, flies and other insects were just as much a nuisance as today. An early remedy was to purchase a small bag of sulphur and place it in a birdcage. Another was to mix together black pepper, brown sugar and cream and put it on a plate to scare off the flies. Later, insects were caught and destroyed by means of a glass fly trap, where sweet water was placed in a wide-bottomed glass jar to attract flies and wasps. When they [literally] swallowed the bait, a cork bung filled the opening at the top and the nuisances destroyed. Then along came the discovery of DDT, followed by later pesticides regarded as more environmentally friendly. Then insecticides were sold alongside repellents, which didn’t kill, only, well, repelled.

The point is that things change and successful businesses change with them.

In the field of non-executive director recruitment, the customary, preferred route was through the use of headhunter companies. For years Non Exec recruitment had become prohibitively expensive to most SME businesses, not because of the cost of the actual Non Exec pay but rather the cost of finding these people.

Having founded a previous non-exec platform in 2013 as an ex-headhunter, surrounding myself with senior directors across many industries including banking, headhunting and professional accountancy practice I have lots of insight into this space. My vision these days is not to grow for the sake of growing, but to create more innovation than disruption, utilising products and integrations from other businesses that I have had the pleasure of advising – including the worldwide video and animation platform, is already being used by some of the world’s largest and most high-profile headhunters as well as a plethora of private companies, banks, private equity funds and entrepreneurs who use it directly. Far from disrupting and dashing the existing headhunting process to pieces, has breathed new life into it, creating a new world of contacts, networking and opportunities where members can build an understanding of non-executive issues with our knowledge portal and regular governance updates.

I am now intent on bringing about innovative change, a more efficient and beneficial process, and a refreshing new way for members to promote their abilities; taking advantage of video profiles, social sharing techniques and a consultative forum where members may book time to speak to a CEO who genuinely cares about the success of the membership in finding new NED opportunities.

Oh, and there are no flies on our members or on us!


Ian Wright, CEO

Ian Wright is the Founder and CEO of and has worked with 1000s of companies to appoint non-executives and chairs.  He sits on the boards of four privately held companies as non-executive and was previously non-executive Chairman of a business that sold to a trade buyer.  Ian has built multiple businesses that have gone on to sell to private equity, too.

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