Skip to content


  • Add this article to your LinkedIn page
  • Add this article to your Twitter feed
  • Add this article to your Facebook page
  • Email this article
  • View or print a PDF of this page
  • Share further
  • Add this article to your Pinterest board
  • Add this article to your Google page
  • Share this article on Reddit
  • Share this article on StumbleUpon
  • Bookmark this page

Three lessons for business leaders from Disruption Summit Europe 2019

Disruption Summit Europe is a fantastic opportunity to gauge the state of the world. More than 700 senior executives from some of the world’s leading businesses, most innovative start-ups and forward-thinking public organisations come together to discuss their most pressing challenges.

Of course, we were there, hosting three talks and two roundtable discussions, and we picked up on three key themes all business leaders should focus on to drive continued success:

1.      It’s time to change the way we lead organisations

Too many large organisations focus on targets and tasks. They lead based on fear. They steer us to conformity. Such a leadership approach stifles our natural ingenuity, making it difficult to capitalise on the opportunities, and respond to the challenges, of our fast-changing world.

We need a new, better way to lead. We need an approach that restores the ability we had as children to have ambitious dreams. We need to unlock ingenuity.

As our Chief Innovation Officer, Frazer Bennett, said in his keynote address, “The new way to lead is the leadership of a purposeful, ever adapting, gritty, organic institution. The future leader is not the master of a machine.”

Find out more about the forces making this change a necessity, and the essential actions leaders should take, in our new leadership agenda.

2.      Sustainability must be at the heart of innovation

Sustainability is becoming a massive driver of growth – customers and employees are demanding it, and investors are requiring it. According to the UN, the opportunity for organisations that innovate for sustainability could be worth as much as $12 trillion by 2030. The question is, how do we seize it?

The key, said Dr Steven Carden, our Global Head of Sustainability and the Circular Economy, is in remembering four things when innovating:

  • put purpose first
  • organise to innovate and operate at scale
  • embrace the disruptors
  • be bold.

Find out more about how to follow these themes and achieve sustainable success.

3.      We must transform for tomorrow using digital today

The digital revolution is nothing new – Amazon is now 25 years old. Yet most organisations still aren’t fully embracing it. They’re doing digital at the edge, as a team or channel, rather than in their core, as part of everything they do.

With an MIT study showing digitally-transformed companies are 26 per cent more profitable than their average industry competitors, better embedding digital-first approaches holds a huge opportunity for growth.

Our digital expert, Natalie Taylor, explained at the Summit that making this change relies on three things:

  1. Learn lessons from digital natives – companies that have always been digital-first have faced, and overcome, the challenges you’ll face. Find out how they succeeded.
  2. Grapple with the digital talent challenge – you’ll need new skills to make a success of embracing digital. Create a strategy to recruit, acquire or train those skills.
  3. Embrace an experimental mindset – not everything you try will work. Think of your digital transformation as a series of experiments to ensure you learn from failures.

Find out more about how to transform for tomorrow in our latest digital research.

Contact the strategy team


By using this website, you accept the use of cookies. For more information on how to manage cookies, please read our privacy policy.