entrepreneurship | spirituality | education

Go Ahead and Disrupt

If you’re looking to start a business or a venture soon, one concept I would like for you to explore is “disruption”.

Some may tend to shy away from this word perceiving it to be negative. However, it is a positive word that is built on creativity.

Disruption requires you to come up with ways on how you would be different in your industry. You’re disrupting normalcy with creativity. As you can see, the easier thing to do is not create disruption, but just mimic an already existing business. The reality is that through disruption you actually increase the chances of survival for your startup.

Google disrupted the online advertising industry by advertising through the use of words rather than the normal way of charging for real estate.

As you think about your startup, one of the questions you would want to ask yourself is- will there be disruption? Look for ways to introduce your product or service in a different and creative way. One of the things to keep in mind though, is that a disruptive model may not be understood by all.

After putting together the theoretical Wellspring Model of elementary education, I decided to present and share it with some of the heads of Islamic schools. Some of the feedback that I received in the meeting was: “This will not work”, “This is a business model”, implying that it would not be fit for schools, yet another one suggested since I was not 40 years of age at the time that I was too young for this endeavor (I was 38). This reaction was somewhat expected since Wellspring was a different model. It was a different approach to education- its organizational structure, process, and assessment.

Reviewing each feedback, I decided to move ahead knowing well that there would be disruption. By Allah’s Grace, the students at Wellspring Elementary are ahead at least by one grade in reading, learn in a creative environment, literate in technology, memorizing Quran while learning Arabic, and are developing skills to be amazing presenters. Not only is the model working, but it is now being mimicked and is in demand across the country. This does not mean it has reached perfection, as there’s always room for improvement.

One of the challenges with disruption is that you will encounter people expecting the “old and the same”. You will receive, like we did many a times, the statement- “but how come the other schools do it that way and you don’t?”

The cohesiveness of the Wellspring organizational structure is necessary to ensure that standards of creativity in the Wellspring Model are being met. This allows us to monitor the implementation of the school-wide strategy and philosophy consistently and efficiently. This is why Wellspring does not have separate entities such as PTA’s. Rather, parental involvement is encouraged through the administration in a structured manner. It is also important to minimize the politics that come about with the creation of such associations so that the time is spent towards the development of the children in a positive environment, because the children come first.

So go ahead and disrupt. We need more creativity out there.