Paul Armstrong, Author of Disruptive Technologies: Understand, Evaluate, Respond, talks to us about his book and if there’d likely be a second edition sometime soon.

What is your background briefly, and how has it led to what you do now?

After I graduated in Psychology I left the UK for the US where I focused on working in communications and strategy primarily for tech companies like Yahoo!, Sony, Activision amongst others. Myspace asked me to join their team in 2007 and worked on Myspace Video arena and external stakeholder communications.

Can you give us a 1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

Right now, HERE/FORTH, the emerging technology advisory I run/founded, keeps me busy. We’re currently working with clients from Finance to FMCG and beyond to help them shape their strategies, create new products and see what’s coming down the road that will impact their businesses. I am also excited about launching TNN (The New Normal) a Slack-based community that focuses on the future (‘whatever that may be’). We’ve already got members from the US, Brazil, Germany helping each other and benefiting from the curated insights feed. In addition to the information on the feed there are also regular networking events where speakers get to talk freely about their area of expertise. TNN is a really interesting project and if you’re interested in the future you should checking it out: hereforth.com/tnn

We enjoyed the book, on page 50, you mention about people not liking change, is this more of an issue / challenge now that change is coming faster?

Glad you enjoyed the book. Change is a constant and the speed at which it comes at a business, person or thing will always affect the impact that change has. The book aims to help people develop their perspective and reactions to change as well as develop their forecasting skills to  see change further out. The issue is not liking change but giving them tools and advice to better cope with it. In other words, you don’t have to like change, you just have to be able cope with and be open to it. 

What has been the response to the book so far?

Really positive. It has been humbling to see the reviews on Amazon when people have applied the TBD framework to their companies and strategies. I am glad people are getting practical advice from the book to make real changes in their organisations.

Technology obviously moves very quickly so is there anything you’d now like to go into more detail on, if there was a second edition?

I would probably touch more on the impact and effect that design is increasingly having on everything from website to app development, housing to appliances. UI, UX and just generally focusing on the end user and the jobs that need to be done is rocking some businesses to the core. 

We liked your point about businesses needing EQ rather than IQ – how might businesses better assess for this when looking to hire new talent?

EQ is something that is hard to determine in a formal way unless you have a lot of time, you can test EQ via different scenarios and questioning techniques but ultimately it’s about asking candidates how they would respond to different scenarios and finding out if the candidate has the self-awareness to change and modify for different individuals and styles.

Who do you follow / read for inspiration and ideas?

Great question – I ask this to everyone I meet if I have enough time. I read widely and use aggregators to see what’s popping and how people are thinking in different ways. I used Flipboard, Twitter Lists and tools like Epictions to really research topics to see where the gaps are and what’s different. I also regularly read Harvard Business Review, Economist, Techcrunch, Wired, Irish Tech News and a variety of publications on Medium from Femsplain to Matter. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I just learned ‘Disruptive Technologies; Understand, Evaluate and Respond’ will be translated into Korean, Russian and Chinese next year so that’ll be interesting!

Paul’s new book can be purchased from Amazon here.


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