Navigate the Maelstrom: 3 Frameworks to Spark Innovation During Disruption

Nitin Gupta
4 min readMay 6, 2024

Let’s face it, CEO — the business landscape is a churning ocean these days. Disruption feels like a constant companion, whispering threats of extinction in one ear while promising shiny, uncharted territories in the other.

It’s enough to make even the most seasoned leader feel like they’re clinging to a piece of driftwood in a hurricane.

But here’s the good news: innovation thrives amid disruption. During these turbulent times, the most groundbreaking ideas surface, propelling companies from vulnerable targets to industry titans.

The question is, how do you, as the captain of this ship, harness this chaotic energy and steer your team towards a haven of breakthrough ideas?

Fear not, fellow voyager. Today, we’ll delve into three powerful frameworks that can transform you from a passive observer of disruption into an active innovation architect.

Framework #1: Embrace the “What If?”

Our brains are wired for routine. It’s a survival mechanism — predictability keeps us safe. However, this comfort zone becomes a graveyard for creativity regarding innovation.

So, the first step is to cultivate a culture of questioning — a constant “what if?” echoing through the halls of your organisation.

Here’s how you can ignite the “what if?” spark:

Challenge Assumptions: Don’t take the status quo for granted. Encourage your team to dissect every aspect of your business, from customer interactions to internal processes. Ask, “What if” we flipped this on its head? What if there’s an entirely unexplored way of doing things?

Embrace the Power of Play: Sometimes, the most groundbreaking ideas emerge from seemingly frivolous brainstorming sessions. Host dedicated “what if?” workshops where wild ideas are tolerated and celebrated.

Let your team play with absurd concepts and explore seemingly impossible scenarios. You might be surprised by the gems that emerge.

Learn from the Unlikely: Look beyond your industry for inspiration. What are companies in seemingly unrelated fields doing differently? What challenges are they facing, and how are they tackling them? A healthcare company might find a revolutionary customer service solution by studying how a hospitality chain personalizes guest experiences.

Framework #2: Befriend the “Uncomfortable”

Innovation rarely blossoms in comfort. It demands venturing outside your bubble, embracing discomfort, and even a healthy dose of calculated risk. So, how do you get your team to step out of their cosy corner offices and into the unknown?

Here are some strategies to befriend the “uncomfortable”:

Embrace Calculated Risks: Not all risks are created equal. Encourage your team to identify and differentiate between reckless gambles and calculated risks. The latter are well-researched ventures with a clear potential upside, even if the outcome is uncertain.

Celebrate Failures (Smartly): Failure is inevitable in the innovation journey. But here’s the key — don’t let it become a demotivator. Instead, create a culture where failures are seen as stepping stones, opportunities to learn and iterate. Hold post-mortem discussions to understand what went wrong and use those insights to fuel future endeavours.

Step Outside Your Echo Chamber: Disruption often comes from unexpected corners. Surround yourself with diverse voices, people who challenge your perspective and offer fresh viewpoints. Attend industry conferences that push boundaries, engage with thought leaders outside your field, and encourage your team to do the same.

Framework #3: Cultivate the “Champion Mindset”

Innovation isn’t a solo act. It’s a collaborative symphony, requiring a team that believes in the power of ideas and actively champions them. So, how do you foster this champion mindset within your organisation?

Here are some ways to cultivate a team of innovation champions:

Empower Your Team: Micromanagement stifles creativity. Give your team the autonomy and resources they need to explore ideas. Trust that they possess the talent and expertise to bring breakthrough concepts to life.

Recognise and Reward Innovation: Don’t let brilliant ideas languish in obscurity. Celebrate innovation at all levels, big or small. Publicly recognise individuals and teams who championed new ideas, showed willingness to experiment, and learned from failures.

Lead by Example: Your actions speak louder than words. Be a visible champion of innovation yourself. Participate in brainstorming sessions, actively seek out diverse viewpoints, and be the first to celebrate calculated risks and “what if?” scenarios.

Remember, CEO, navigating disruption isn’t about weathering the storm — it’s about harnessing its power to propel your company forward.

By embracing these frameworks, you can cultivate a culture of curiosity, calculated risk-taking, and championing, transforming your organisation into an innovation powerhouse.

Now, go forth, intrepid leader, and steer your crew towards a horizon brimming with groundbreaking ideas. Remember, the uncharted territories of disruption might just hold the key to your company’s successive big win.

But hold on, captain, before you set sail, a few parting words:

Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get discouraged if breakthroughs don’t happen overnight. Foster a continuous learning and experimentation culture, and the rewards will follow.

Communication is your anchor. Clearly articulate the company’s innovation goals and the “why” behind them. Keep your team informed about progress, challenges, and learnings.

Celebrate the journey, not just the destination. Recognize and appreciate the effort your team puts into the innovation process. A team that feels valued and supported will continue to push boundaries.

The winds of disruption might howl, CEO.

Still, with the right frameworks and a crew with innovative spirit, you can navigate the storm and emerge stronger, more agile, and ready to conquer the ever-evolving business landscape.

Now, batten down the hatches, unfurl the sails of creativity, and set course for a future brimming with groundbreaking success!

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Nitin Gupta

CEO @ WebMob Software Solutions | Pioneering FinTech Revolution | Creator of 8+ Money Markets & NFT Marketplaces | Influencing the Future of DLT, Web3, and Life