We Owe Our Existence to Instability

Instability in the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. economy — all inspire fear of the future. Instability is widely seen as bad — a negative that upends our sense of security and complicates planning for the future. But instability also generates opportunity and a need for change that can make us safer and add to our well-being.

Instability leads to disruption and improvements in the way things are done.

Construction and materials modifications adopted in response to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake — and subsequent temblors along California’s San Andreas fault — have resulted in lives saved and infrastructure preserved. Californians still live with awareness that an earthquake can create devastation, but their risk has been diminished by those who saw opportunity in potential chaos and unpredictability. These visionaries seized the opportunity to disrupt the normal way of doing things and created a better world along the way.

Today, the greatest advancements — and disruptions — are being made in the health-care space. Blood nanobots that can destroy pathogens in the body, blood collection by a tiny pinprick that reduces costs to make blood tests more accessible, and “smart” prosthetics that read brain activity to control movements are all disruptions that promise to improve our quality of life.

But business owners don’t need cutting-edge technology to disrupt. They only need to view their market from a different perspective.