The world is about to get very uncomfortable for a lot of companies.

The next few decades will bring us not just one paradigm shift as impactful as the rise of the internet — but 5 to 10 of them, coming online far faster than that “polite” revolution.

Companies aren’t built for the scope and speed of the coming disruption. Already, the old corporate guard has been crumbling under its own bureaucracy.

Yet even new, rising-star companies may grow fast, then fail to adapt to the next disruption, because they’re not prepared to move at the new speed of change. Just as they’re painting the walls of their shiny, new headquarters, a new competitor will show up to take their place.

I call this era the Age of Innovative Destruction, and it’s about to change everything.

Converging technologies and social developments will rapidly change the way we work, travel, interact, shop, and communicate. This will happen multiple times in quick succession over the coming years.

Natural language, AI as a service, virtual and augmented reality, nanomedicine, electric/self-driving vehicles and fusion energy are just a few emerging technologies that could individually transform society, and together create an ongoing whirlwind of change the likes of which humanity has never experienced.

The social trends toward diversity and inclusion, the democratization of wealth and global distribution of opportunity are colliding with these tech breakthroughs to give birth to entirely new ways of relating, collaborating and innovating together.

All this change is keeping business leaders awake at night. A recent survey found that 75% of U.S. CEOs are worried about the speed of technology changes.

So, what do we do about it?

The tendency in uncertain and risky situations is to pull back, stay with what’s familiar, and wait to see how things shake out.

And that’s exactly the attitude that caused so many companies large and small to fail in the pandemic, while others that adapted quickly took off like rockets.

It’s impossible to predict how things will play out. Our job as leaders and innovators must be to envision the better world we want to bring about, lead the way and be prepared to course correct or pivot instantly as our environment changes.

The Age of Innovative Destruction is going to be won by folks who are willing to go big and bold. Anything less than that and you'll be building something that becomes obsolete before you're halfway through.

Consider the following strategies.

Start Small

The business world (both enterprise and startup) has gotten into the habit of investing heavily in unproven ideas, deciding key parameters and product specs ahead of time. This will be disastrous in the emerging era. We’ve got to have a big, bold vision, but start small to get something into the market as quickly and inexpensively as possible — weeks, not months or years.

Ideate radically, execute intensely, test relentlessly.

From the beginning of your idea to your entry into the market, until your exit, you must embrace the crowd and get feedback to make sure you’re staying relevant and delivering value.

Focus On Impact

People are no longer going to tolerate companies that are only focused on the bottom line. Customers want to do business with companies that benefit the world. And top talent wants to do something meaningful with their time and energy — and they have plenty of options of who to work for.

In the Age of Innovative Destruction, as soon as you accomplish any kind of success, you're in the process of being disrupted. We must constantly reinvent ourselves, challenge our assumptions and grow.

And we have to get real about the value we’re providing. Every company claims they’re making the world better, but too often, they’re making it better for themselves and their investors with a hardcore focus on the bottom line.

To thrive in this new era, we need to be true leaders. That starts with having a real passion for what we’re doing. Like never before, entrepreneurs have to embrace a journey that gets us out of bed excited to charge forth every day. We have to love what we’re doing and believe in it wholeheartedly.

That means getting ego and greed out of the way and working with people in service to a greater cause, co-discovering and co-creating ways to solve problems and make the world better for all.

This is how businesses will attract the talent, funding, customers, and goodwill needed to thrive in the new era.

Mark S. McNally is the founder and chief nobody of Nobody Studios, a globally distributed high-velocity venture studio bringing together investors, founders, and creatives to forge companies with purpose, real-world value, and a human connection. For more information, visit