Disruptive Entrepreneurship: Challenging the Status Quo and Driving Change

Small Business Week should not be celebrated without focusing at least some attention on entrepreneurship, and especially in today’s ever-changing world, and for the future, disruptive entrepreneurship.

Disruptive entrepreneurship is a type of business strategy that aims to challenge and transform established industries and markets by introducing innovative and often unconventional products, services, or business models. It involves identifying opportunities for radical change, challenging the status quo, and taking risks to create new markets or transform existing ones.

A disruptive entrepreneur is an individual who adopts this approach, who seeks to create value and drive change by introducing innovative products or services. They often possess a unique combination of creativity, risk-taking, and strategic thinking, and are willing to challenge traditional industry norms and approaches.

A disruptive mindset is a way of thinking that focuses on identifying and creating new opportunities, challenging conventional thinking, and embracing risk-taking. This mindset is characterized by a willingness to experiment, learn, and iterate rapidly in pursuit of ambitious goals. It involves a commitment to continuous innovation, adaptation, and improvement.

“Entrepreneurship is about disruption, about shaking up the status quo.” – Richard Branson

Examples of disruptive business mindsets and spirits include:

1.     Elon Musk: The founder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, Elon Musk has disrupted several industries with his innovative ideas and ambitious goals. He has transformed the automotive industry with electric vehicles, revolutionized space travel with reusable rockets, and is working on making underground transportation faster and more efficient.

2.     Jeff Bezos: The founder and former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has transformed the retail industry with his online marketplace, offering customers a convenient and cost-effective way to shop for a wide range of products. He has also disrupted other industries with ventures such as Blue Origin, a space exploration company, and The Washington Post, a leading news publication.

3.     Travis Kalanick: The co-founder and former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick disrupted the taxi industry with his ride-hailing platform, which offered customers a more convenient and affordable way to get around. He also introduced new concepts such as surge pricing, which has become a standard practice in the ride-hailing industry.

4.     Sara Blakely: The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely disrupted the fashion industry with her innovative shapewear products, which offered women a more comfortable and flattering alternative to traditional undergarments. She has since expanded her product line to include apparel and accessories and has become one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the world.

5.     Brian Chesky: The co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky disrupted the hospitality industry with his online platform, which allows individuals to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers. He has also expanded the company’s offerings to include unique and immersive travel experiences, such as cooking classes and city tours, further disrupting the traditional hotel industry.

“To be a disruptor, you have to be comfortable with taking risks and challenging the status quo.” – Jeff Bezos

And remember Stratis Morfogen, author of the book, Be a Disruptor who was previously written about at Acceler8Success Café?

Morfogen is a successful entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in the restaurant industry. While he may not yet be widely known as a disruptive entrepreneur, he has certainly brought innovation and change to the industry through his various ventures.

His most notable venture is his restaurant group, Brooklyn Chop House. The restaurants have gained attention for unique fusion of Chinese and American cuisine, as well as an innovative approach to food preparation and presentation. The restaurants utilize advanced technology, including robotic cooking machines, to prepare dishes quickly and efficiently, reducing labor costs and wait times for customers.

Morfogen’s latest venture, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop can be seen as another example of his disruptive entrepreneurial spirit. The restaurant features a highly automated approach to food preparation, using advanced technology to cook and serve dumplings quickly and efficiently.

The menu at the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is also diverse, featuring a range of unique and creative flavors and options, including vegan and gluten-free options. The restaurant also offers a variety of ordering options, including in-person, online, and delivery, making it convenient for customers to order and receive their food.

Overall, Morfogen’s work with the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, now a growing franchise brand, demonstrates his continued commitment to disrupting the traditional restaurant industry through innovative ideas and technologies. The restaurant’s emphasis on automation and convenience is a departure from the traditional sit-down dining experience, offering a unique and compelling value proposition to customers.

“Disruptive entrepreneurs don’t wait for opportunities to come to them, they create their own.” – Vivek Wadhwa

Franchising is not typically associated with disruptive entrepreneurship, but there are several other examples of restaurant brand founders who have disrupted the traditional franchise model with innovative ideas and approaches including:

1.     Ray Kroc – McDonald’s: Ray Kroc is often credited with turning McDonald’s into the world’s largest and most successful fast-food franchise. Kroc’s innovative approach to franchising, which included standardized systems, training, and support, helped to create a consistent and recognizable brand that could be replicated in different markets around the world.

2.     Fred DeLuca – Subway: Fred DeLuca founded Subway with a unique approach to franchising that focused on low start-up costs and flexible store designs. The company also emphasized healthy eating options, offering a range of fresh ingredients and customizable menu items that appealed to health-conscious customers.

3.     Aaron Kennedy – Noodles & Company: Aaron Kennedy founded Noodles & Company with a disruptive approach to franchising that focused on creating a diverse menu of international noodle dishes that could be customized to individual tastes. The company also emphasized the use of fresh ingredients and cooking techniques to create high-quality, flavorful meals.

4.     John Schnatter – Papa John’s: John Schnatter founded Papa John’s with a focus on quality ingredients and a unique approach to franchising that emphasized training and support for franchisees. The company also introduced innovative technology, such as online ordering and mobile apps, to make ordering and delivery more convenient for customers.

5.     Jim Treliving – Boston Pizza: Jim Treliving founded Boston Pizza with a focus on creating a family-friendly dining experience that combined a diverse menu with a welcoming atmosphere. The company also introduced innovative marketing strategies, such as sponsoring sports teams and events, to help build brand recognition and loyalty.

“The best ideas are often the ones that go against the grain, challenge the status quo, and disrupt the norm.” – Naveen Jain

Last, but certainly not least, in the world of disruptive entrepreneurs is none other than Steve Jobs. Jobs is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and influential entrepreneurs of our time, and his innovative ideas and approaches have had a profound impact on numerous industries. Jobs is known for his disruptive mindset and approach to business, which challenged established industry norms and introduced new concepts and technologies.

Some examples of Jobs’ disruptive entrepreneurship include:

1.     Apple: Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 and transformed the technology industry with products such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. He disrupted the traditional computer industry with his emphasis on intuitive and user-friendly designs and transformed the music industry with the introduction of the iTunes Store and the iPod.

2.     Pixar: In 1986, Jobs purchased the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm and turned it into Pixar Animation Studios. The company revolutionized the animation industry with its innovative computer-generated animation techniques and produced numerous award-winning films, including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles.

3.     Retail: When Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s, he disrupted the retail industry by introducing the Apple Store. The stores featured innovative designs and interactive displays that allowed customers to try out Apple products before purchasing them. The Apple Store has become one of the most successful retail chains in history, with hundreds of locations around the world.

4.     Digital Publishing: Jobs disrupted the publishing industry with the introduction of the iPad and the iBookstore, which allowed users to download and read digital books on their devices. This innovation challenged traditional publishing models and paved the way for the widespread adoption of digital publishing.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

The Future of Disruptive Entrepreneurship

The landscape of industry and commerce is being transformed by the emergence of innovative ideas and business models, and the pace of technological change, making the future of disruptive entrepreneurship both exciting and unpredictable. There are several trends and developments that could shape the future of disruptive entrepreneurship, including:

1.     Sustainability: With concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability growing, there is likely to be an increasing emphasis on disruptive entrepreneurship that promotes eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Entrepreneurs will need to find innovative ways to reduce waste, conserve resources, and promote sustainable business practices.

2.     Artificial Intelligence and Automation: The future of disruptive entrepreneurship is likely to be heavily influenced by the increasing use of artificial intelligence and automation. While these technologies can make it easier and more cost-effective for entrepreneurs to develop and deliver products and services, they may also disrupt traditional industries and displace workers.

3.     Digital Platforms and E-Commerce: The rise of digital platforms and e-commerce has already disrupted traditional retail and service industries, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. Entrepreneurs will need to find innovative ways to use these platforms to reach customers and deliver products and services.

4.     Health and Wellness: As people become more health-conscious, there is likely to be a growing demand for disruptive entrepreneurship that focuses on health and wellness. Entrepreneurs will need to find new and innovative ways to promote healthy living and address issues such as mental health and stress.

5.     Personalization and Customization: The increasing use of technology and data analytics is expected to fuel the trend towards personalization and customization in products and services. Entrepreneurs will need to find ways to use data to create personalized experiences that meet the unique needs and preferences of individual customers.

“Disruptive innovation requires taking big risks, and having the courage to face failure.” – Clayton Christensen


Disruptive entrepreneurship aims to disrupt and revolutionize traditional industries and markets by introducing innovative and unconventional products, services, or business models. This approach requires a disruptive mindset, which is characterized by a readiness to experiment, learn, and iterate rapidly to achieve ambitious goals. In the future, disruptive entrepreneurship is expected to be influenced by trends such as sustainability, artificial intelligence and automation, digital platforms and e-commerce, health and wellness, and personalization and customization.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

Resources & Support

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate.

You can reach me on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851.

Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Make it a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!