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Disruptive Technology: Selected Sources, Musings, and a Bit of Speculation
Volume 41, Number 1 - January/February 2017

Useful Web Sources/Sites

“McKinsey Report: Automotive Revolution, Tesla Motors Positioned for a Disruptive Tech-Driven Future”

“Ten Companies That Are Disrupting Their Industries Through Technology”

“12 Industries Disrupted by Tech Companies Expanding Into New Markets”

“The Companies Disrupting Healthcare in 2015”

“Who Are the Digital Disruptors Redefining Entire Industries?”


Annual Disruptor 50, published by CNBC

CNBC has been supplying the Disrupter 50 list for the past 4 years. The list features private companies in 15 industries from aerospace to financial services to cybersecurity to retail—“whose innovations are revolutionizing the business landscape.” According to CNBC, “these forward-thinking starts-ups have identified unexploited niches in the marketplace that have the potential to become billion-dollar businesses, and they rushed to fill them.” CNBC also explains that “some have already passed the billion-dollar mark at a speed that is unprecedented [and] in the process, they are creating new ecosystems for their products and services.” The companies selected are all venture capital-backed companies. The 2016 list of 50 was selected from 750 companies nominated to compete on this list, which is more than double the number of nominees from 2015. For companies on prior lists, see “The Complete History of the CNBC Disruptor 50” at

CB Insights

CB Insights describes its subscription-based service in this way: “[We]...aggregate and analyze massive amounts of data and use machine learning, algorithms and data visualization to help corporations replace the three Gs (Google searches, gut instinct and guys with MBAs, though we do employ MBAs) so they can answer massive strategic questions using probability not punditry … ”

CB Insights answers questions such as these:

  • Which disruptive companies should we worry about?
  • Which emerging trends could kill us?
  • What new markets should we enter?
  • What is our competitor’s strategy?
  • Who should we acquire?
  • Who should we invest in?
  • Who is our next customer?
  • Who are the S&P 500 companies of tomorrow?

CB Insights Newsletter

Although subscription-based (, CB Insights offers a valuable free daily newsletter that incorporates technology trends and venture capital and startup information for “industries of tomorrow.” Many CB Insights newsletter articles cover disruptive technology. Here are a few examples:

“Foot in Mouth: 26 Quotes From Big Corporate Execs Who Laughed Off Disruption When It Hit”

“Disrupting … Walking? 20 Startups in Personal Transportation”

“From AT&T to Xerox: 52 Corporate Innovation Labs”

“Disrupting Logistics: The Startups That Are Unbundling FedEx & UPS”

CB Insights Data Store
The CB Insights Data Store sells research reports, though not inexpensively. At the time of this writing, the following were available about disruptive technology:

“HR Tech: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report” – A monthly report (subscription is 12 reports) offering a data-driven view into emerging HR tech companies, technologies, and trends within HR tech (

“Digital Health: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report” – A monthly report (subscription is 12 reports) offering a data-driven view into emerging digital health companies, technologies, and trends within digital health (

“Ed Tech: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report: Ed Tech: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report” – A monthly report (subscription is 12 reports) offering a data-driven view into emerging ed tech companies, technologies, and trends within ed tech (

“Cybersecurity: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report” – A monthly report (subscription is 12 reports) offering a data-driven view into emerging cybersecurity companies, technologies, and trends within cybersecurity (

“Payments: Innovation & Disruption Scouting Report” – A monthly report (subscription is 12 reports) offering a data-driven view into emerging payments companies, technologies, and trends within payments (

CB Insights Blog
Also of value is the CB Insights Blog. For a list of blog postings about disruptive technology use the Google site search with the following search string:

(disrupt OR disruptive)

Examples from the first 100 results are:

“How Do You Disrupt Google? Startups & VCs Are Attacking Mobile” (

“Disruption in Financial Services Webinar” (

“Rewiring Industries: 100 IoT Startups Disrupting Auto, Healthcare, Energy, and More” (

Industrial Research Institute

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) describes itself as “the only association of companies and federal laboratories uniting innovation leaders from diverse industries and across all research and development (R&D) functions to create and exchange knowledge on improving their organization’s technology management capabilities.” IRI provides reports, conference papers, and webinars about disruptive technology for members.

Search Tips

Below are some search terms that can be used for learning about disruptive technology.

  • Disruptive innovation
  • Digital disruption
  • IT innovation
  • Business innovation
  • IT transformation

Here are some simple search strategy examples:

"disruptive technology" companies (report OR "case study")

(company OR companies) (disrupt OR disruption) (tech OR technology OR technologies) (example OR "case study" OR report)

Additional Reading as Food for Thought

“Bots, Big Data, Blockchain, and AI—Disruption or Incremental Change?”
Ron Friedmann, June 26, 2016;

“Can Libraries Survive Disruptive Technologies?
Jacquie Widdowson, Dec. 8, 2014;

Disruptive Library Technology Jester

“Disruptive Technology and Medical Librarians”

“Emerging Tech Trends Require Change Management”
Troy Lambert, July 1, 2016;

“5 Ways to Raise the Profile of Your Corporate Information Center”
Andrew Clark, July 21, 2016;

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Amelia Kassel has been president and owner of MarketingBase, a global business research firm, which specializes in industry, company, and competitive and market intelligence research, since 1982. A recognized author and international speaker, she conducts seminars for associations and conferences and gives workshops onsite for companies and organizations. 


Comments? Contact the editors at

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