Are We Ready For Disruption? | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Are We Ready For Disruption?

Disruption- A radical change in an industry or business strategy, especially involving the introduction of a product or service that creates a new market. To cause disorder or turmoil in. To destroy, usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unity of 

Disruption. We see and hear that word a lot these days. We even have the #disruPT hashtag. Disrupting has become almost a buzz word not only in healthcare but in other industries as well. However, there is a fine line between disruption and simply improving upon an existing model, not that there's anything wrong with that. But true disruption makes the old business model obsolete. Following the obsolete model leads to irrelevance. And not being involved in the disruption can lead to destruction. 

History books are filled with stories of disruptors. The Wright Brothers were disruptors. Henry Ford was a disruptor. Steve Jobs and Apple were disruptors. Facebook and Twitter are disruptors. Napster in the late 90's and more recently, Netflix, were disruptors. Gary Vaynerchuk is a disruptor. Is Elon Musk a disruptor? It certainly seems like he could be with what he's doing with Tesla and Space-X, but ultimately time will tell.

We see that disruption can come in all shapes and sizes. What may appear now as only tiny ripples could very well become tidal waves of change in years to come. Yet, the question remains: is the PT profession ready for it? Is the general public truly ready for it? Was the music industry ready for iTunes? Bottom line, I don't think it matters if we're ready-- it's necessary and it's coming. What matters is if you're going to be a part of it or not. 

In the PT world,  I see direct access as the most significant disruption to the status quo. As far as individuals go, whether you like or agree with him or not, Dr. James Dunning is a disruptor. He is effecting the scope of practice not only within PT but also the chirporactic and acupuncture professions. I also think that John Childs with Evidence In Motion has the potential to be an enormous disruption with their new model of physical therapy education that could significantly alter advanced health care training in this country. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has -- Margaret Mead

True disruption is often achieved by a few capable, persistent, fearless, and motivated individuals and groups. Which doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't strive for it. True disruptors are those that see a problem and work towards a solution to that problem, all the while keeping the confidence that what they are doing will be the right thing even in the face of public doubt, and uncertainty as to whether or not it will even work. 

I am not a disruptor, but I am a fan of the underdog, the little company taking on the big, bad corporation; a veritable "David vs. Goliath." (Although, if you read the Malcolm Gladwell book of the same title, you'll quickly realize that David was not quite the underdog that he was made out to be). I want the mom & pop shop to triumph despite a Wal-Mart opening up down the street. However, the challenge with disruption is that it can't just be new and innovative. It still has to be good.

With that in mind, here's a brief example: Over two years ago, I was eager to try out Dollar Shave Club after first hearing about it advertised on a podcast. Were they going to be to shaving what Netflix was for DVD rentals? Their commercials were funny. They were unabashedly confident and crass. After all, they were going after the icons of shaving, Gillette and Schick. I used them for a little over a year before facing the hard truth. Their blades were just not as good for me as Gillette's. There was no way around it. I switched back. I'm sure many people like DSC blades fine. After all, they're still in business. But I don't see the shaving industry being shaken up like the movie rental establishment.

Instead of waiting for the world to impose the need for change, visionary companies are likely to be earlier adopters than the comparison companies-- Jim Collins (Built To Last)

I see many physical therapists out there striving to make significant change and buck the status quo. People like Mike Eisenhart, Jeff Moore, Jerry Durham, Gene Shirokobrod, Ben Fung, and Kelly Starrett come to mind. We have new grad PTs like Ryan Smith opening up cash-based practices fresh out of school. We are also seeing improvements in technology and customer connection from groups like WebPT, Medbridge, Strive Labs, Therapy Partners, and Dave Kittle's Vinitial app. In the volunteering sector Justin Dunaway's Stand for Haiti stands out, no pun intended.

But for those of us who may not be the innovators, or even out in front leading a charge, it doesn't mean we can't do our part. Celebrate the disruptors. Support the movements. Leaders aren't leaders without followers. Innovation isn't innovation unless other people "buying in" and helping make a change. As Jerry Durham said to me in a conversation, "we need to be open to change and new ideas....and ask a lot of questions."  

And speaking of Jerry, stay tuned for exciting announcements regarding the launch of the new "Heathcare DisruPTion Podcast" (formerly, "Business, Baseball and Bourbon") from UpDoc Media with your host, yours truly, and Jerry Durham. 

Having trouble disrupting an industry, a community, or even within your own clinic? How about disrupting yourself?  What steps can you take that can make the change to help you achieve the things you've always wanted? As Scott Halford says in Activate Your Brain, "start small, but start now." The disruption is happening. You don't necessarily have to be out in front, but get on the train. 

As always, thanks for reading.


While contemplating your own disruption, if you're looking for some actionable ways to get involved or help make a change in your profession, clinic, and community, here's a few ideas to get you started:

On Twitter and not following anyone I mentioned in the post? Here's how you can:


Interested in live cases where I apply this approach and integrate it with pain science, manual therapy, repeated motions, IASTM, with emphasis on patient education? Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

Keeping it Eclectic...

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