Design to Disrupt

Humans have always been inspired by nature. Complex evolutionary systems have fascinated scientists and inventors for centuries. So, imagine if clothes were made from proteins, like those found in spider silks; or that leather jackets and handbags were made from mushrooms. The fashion industry would be revolutionized and given sustainable alternatives to the status quo.

Here on eCorner on Stanford Dan Widmaier, PhD, co-founder of Bolt Threads, is working on just that. In “Design to Disrupt,” he shares his perspective on what entrepreneurs should focus on as they look to launch their companies:

  • Be flexible and open to opportunity
  • Ignore external competition
  • Don’t obsess over perfection

Stay focused on the problem at hand. Channel your energy into taking risks and think outside the box to find sustainable solutions to global problems.

Netflix sees Fortnite as a bigger rival than HBO

Fortnite accounts for an enormous amount of consumers’ screen time, making it Netflix’s biggest rival in the global war for internet users’ attention.

Competition is not limited to the companies in the same industry as you, it can also complement or replace your products and services. Keep reading here

Apple Traps Consumers in an App Store War

The likes of Apple and Google have created moats around their app stores, taking as much as 30c on the dollar for all in-app purchases.

These moats are creating frustrating user experiences for the likes of Netflix and Amazon, but even more so for smaller developers who don’t have a viable alternative than to share their revenues with the tech giants – story: here.

Want More Innovative Solutions? Start With Empathy

Understanding empathy is directly tied to our ability to understand the value we offer customers and a solution as a whole.

Great new innovations start with a focus on people, as well as understanding of their needs, conditions and challenges. Read full story here on Forbes.

Companies have a new skill to master – innovation

Implementing the latest technology is an important aspect of any modern business, but it’s not innovation.

Read here how successful businesses of the future will understand the wider innovation ecosystem – notably how to explore new business models, exploit existing ones and manage an innovation portfolio.

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally: Running a Business Is a Design Job

Having optimism, empathy, holistic thinking, collaboration, and an open mind are the keys to successful leadership and disruption.

Emotional resilience and relentless implementation are two behaviours leaders need to adopt in order to run successful businesses. Keep reading complete story here.

More Start-Ups Have an Unfamiliar Message for Venture Capitalists: Get Lost

Entrepreneurs are moving away from the venture capital business model of raising a lot of money as a means achieving growth, selling the company or going public.

For real innovation to occur you have to be able to make decisions for the good of the business, rather than it’s investors. Here is the story to it …

Amazon stands for nothing. That almost makes it beautiful

Employees who joined companies with the assurance they would be making the world a better place are holding their employers to that standard.

Not everyone needs a social mission, and Amazon doesn’t have one. It’s standard is capitalism through and through. Read the full story here.

What Can We Learn from the Downfall of Theranos?

A culture of ‘fake it until you make it’ lead to Theranos’ famous downfall, ending in two whistle-blowers and criminal charges.


The desire to work quickly should never cause businesses to feel the pressure to lie or commit fraud. Ethics still have value. Keep reading here.

Companies will perform better if employees are not cowed into silence

How toxic cultures can spread quickly in large organisations, with disastrous outcomes.

Read here on how creating an atmosphere of “psychological safety” at work is crucial for employees to feel confident enough to speak their minds.