How is it possible that so many companies fail to react while they are being disrupted?

It may come down to a cognitive bias called the Normalcy bias.

The normalcy bias is the tendency of people to ignore the probability of a large negative event or a disaster happening to them, just because it has not happened to them before.

This results in people and companies refusing to plan for things which could impact them negatively, such as another company disrupting them, even after they have been warned or the event has even begun to happen.

The normalcy bias is therefore closely related to the status quo bias (where people prefer to not change things) and the ostrich effect (where decision makers want to avoid bad news).

Ironically, humans have a strong negativity bias, so one might expect them to want to react strongly to threats to their survival.

However, the human brain also has a tendency to value immediate things more than things in the future, and if there is currently no disaster it is therefore easier to believe there will be no disaster in the future either.

Unfortunately, this bias may result in company decision makers ignoring the need to react or change, even in the face of a major change or disruption which faces the survival of the company.

Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.