Twitter's highly disruptive social media strategy

Jon Wegman, Twitter's chief of staff, outlines the social media giants approach to disruptive strategy


Nothing says disruption like Twitter. Whatsmore, its brand of disruption says it in 280 characters. Since its founding in 2006, the global social media platform turned the social sharing format on its head by exclusively providing users the unusual opportunity to deliver statuses in first 140, then 280 characters. Its risky strategy worked out. Today, it is a leading social media network, host to 330 million monthly active users and supports 40 languages.

Innovation Enterprise had the opportunity to sit down with Jon Wegman, Twitter's chief of staff, for a pop question session on the subject of disruption, and, in true Twitter style, he delivered his answers in 280 characters or less.

Innovation Enterprise (IE): Is it possible to prepare for disruption?

Jon Wegmen (JW): True disruption would be a bit of a shock right? It might catch you, your team, your department, or your company by surprise. Embrace that, the largest foe for emergent direction is to assume you know what will happen. Don’t finish packing for an unknown destination.

IE: How do you ensure your workforce are open to disruption and innovation?

JW: Can you prove you are actually listening and to what outside sources? How are you seeking a diverse perspective? What cultural rewards have you set in place to challenge group think, challenge authority, and challenge sacred cows?

IE: How do you align innovation with your business strategy?

JW: Innovation is cheap (and addictive). We were always bringing ideas. Innovation everywhere! So much so we were pre-packing solutions, or using one concept for multiple applications - but not taking enough time defining the actual problem itself.

IE: How do you avoid legacy systems limiting your strategy and innovation practices?

JW: The most, amazing, expensive, cutting-edge, integrated system is 1) never what it seemed and 2) will be outdated the day it’s installed. Systems are only outcomes of a set of process and rules. Consider challenging the rules on "how" the system works today.

IE: How do you convince business leaders of the importance of change?

JW: Leaders in fast moving cultures must be self-survivalists and will inherently reward (and be rewarded for) risk-less choices, as a risk’s downsides are usually areas of focus. Instead, point out the downside of not taking the risk. That’s your opportunity.

Visit Innovation Enterprise's Disruptive Strategy Summit in San Francisco on September 13–14, 2018, to see Wegman’s presentation “#ChangeTheRules”

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