Dear Disruption: What’s the difference between “innovation” and “disruption”? I like the term “innovate” a lot more.—Wondering in Santa Fe

Dear Wondering in Santa Fe:

I’ve always liked the sound of the word “innovation.” As I saw the term “disruption” streaming in on all my devices, I found myself being more comfortable with it–to the point where I really enjoy it. It has an edge.

Innovation can be defined as the act of turning an idea into a service, process, product or entirely new system that has value and meets a need.  Disruption can be viewed as a disturbance that interrupts the status quo— a change in activities or processes. Disruption can be see as innovation as much as innovation can seen as disruptive.

If one thinks about amazing advances in technology we can see how innovation is disruptive to entire industries. Think of what the innovative tech behind Uber and Lyft did the the taxi industry. What about AirBnB and its disruption of the hotel industry? We can also see that innovation in software is making local government much more transparent–putting sunshine on all tax-payer paid transactions. Yes, there was disruption within the government contract-making process.  Innovation in the public and private sectors is going disrupt but it’s all part of the process of change. Our work preventing childhood trauma and maltreatment–which includes strengthening family-friendly services–will be disruptive to the status quo in some places. But it also may mean safer childhoods and strong families. One of my many mantras is: Innovate! Disrupt! Solve!