Creative destruction is the phrase made famous by 20th-century economist Joseph Schumpeter.
“Disruption,” on the other hand, was coined by Clayton Christensen in the late 90s. It’s largely the same idea, adapted for business school.
Creative destruction refers to the fact that the innovation that lifted us from subsistence farming to modern affluence involves not just ingenuity and invention, but breaking down the old order.
Schumpeter called creative destruction an “industrial mutation… that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”
The author, Adam Gurri, shows creative destruction is not the same as incremental improvement and argues that creative destruction is needed now in many areas as springboards for innovation.
(Added in 2018, In fact, systems are breaking down everywhere as are our expectations for trust in institutions that used to be reliable, accountable. The call for new thinking has been issued. Celebrate and use World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 and Week, April 15-21 to allow new thinking to emerge.)