Creative Destruction and the Status Quo

The “status quo” is what currently exists in way of a situation or the “current state of affairs.” It is the norm, the everyday. However, the status quo is constantly evolving and what exists as the status quo now, did not used to be that. Revolutions alter the status quo, becoming the new norm…until they are disrupted and a new status quo emerges.

The market is not something fixed, but constantly evolving and if you are an entrepreneur and enter the market with a new business, you are going to disrupt the status quo. After all, there are only so many donors out there, so many resources and customers to be had. By entering the market, you come to bump up against the competition by vying for those same customers, attention and resources.

The competition has a vested interest in your not being a part of the status quo for the reasons mentioned above. In some instances, the competition will do what it can (effectively compete) and knock you out of the market, causing your business to no longer exist. This will return the status quo back to what it was before…until a new entity enters the market, ad infinitum.

But if you are able to persevere in the market and adequately compete, a new status quo emerges, of which you are a part.

As a new entity, to become part of the status quo, the scenario that previously existed must change or “break”. It must make way as the earth breaks to accommodate a seedling cracking the confines of its seed. This is known as “creative destruction.” In order to create something new, something first needs to break and when considering the market, it is the status quo that does so.

It requires bravery on the part of the entrepreneur that breaks the status quo, for the push-back will be fierce and comes in equal measure to the energy one exerts–just as physics tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Anytime one is competing for resources, for the sustainability of jobs, for potential growth, for the very existence of one’s company, one will face the ferocity of one’s competitors…until one can outcompete them or is able to alter the status quo into something new–a landscape in which all present co-exist.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer offers a road map to dealing with the push-back of the status quo in this quote:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Jim Hart

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