In Their Own Words: Top Disruption Innovators on Embracing Change

The best innovations surprise and shake up the world for the better.
These disruptive innovations create entirely new markets and displace the established industry norms with products most had never dreamed of before. 

Disruption is what the iPhone did for the cell phone, or what did for retail. We were completely unaware of the problem that either solved and now we can’t imagine life without them. Behind each of these innovations are leaders who have ignored what’s marketable today and define what will be marketable tomorrow.

Little has changed with how commercial real estate operates since the Rockefellers, making it prime for disruption. Technology could be that tipping point. Inspiration is one of the best catalysts to change, which is why this blog is dedicated to 3 of our favorite disruptors.  


Richard Branson – Virgin Group Founder


“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change. A company that stands still will soon be forgotten. ” – Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Taking his own words of constant adaptation seriously, the Virgin Group today includes over 400 companies. Disruption is wide and varied across Virgin with practical innovations, like mobile phone and health care services; not so practical (yet), like Virgin Galactic; and initiatives for global good, like the Carbon War Room to address the threats of global climate change. Branson teaches us that when it comes to disruption, moving forward is key to survival.


Nina Vaca – Pinnacle Group Founder and CEO


“Failure is a moment in your life, not your legacy. Be a perpetual student; learn from every experience, person, and failure in your life.” – Nina Vaca

As the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, Nina Vaca faced economic hardships growing up. Always the perpetual student, Vaca took these experiences as lessons to inform her own goals. When starting Pinnacle Group, she started with just $300. Today, Pinnacle Group is the fastest growing among the women-owned enterprises in the US, providing IT consulting, payroll automation, and vendor management software worldwide. Vaca teaches us that perseverance can be just as important as anything else.


Elon Musk – SpaceX CEO and Founder


“I don’t think we should disrupt things unless it’s…fundamentally better for society. I’m not really a fan of disruption; I’m just a fan of things being better.”- Elon Musk

Despite many career ups and downs, Elon Musk isn’t afraid to dream big. A founding member of PayPal, Musk has used his capital for ventures that are household names including Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceXRather than disruption for the sake of disruption, Musk is driven by a moral responsibility to push humanity forward in fighting climate change and achieving colonization in space. His story teaches us that often the best disruption innovation improves the human experience and embraces a higher purpose.


Innovation and CRE Disruption

Commercial real estate is ripe for disruptive innovation with many opportunities to use tech to solve big problems. For example, the average commercial building wastes 30% of its energy. Office comfort is often the biggest source of tenant complaints during winter and summer. Tenant billing processing can be incredibly time-consuming.

Richard Branson, Nina Vaca, and Elon Musk remind us that embracing reinvention is key to winning in any space. What will others learn for your disruption?


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