To Be or Not to Be Disrupted with Henry Hays | Ep. 201

Sima is delighted to have Henry Hays joining her on the podcast today! Henry is the energetic and inspiring Co-founder and Disruptor at Henry Hays Consulting.

In this episode of Data Gurus, Henry dives into the concept of disruptive innovation.


Henry spent most of his adult life in sales and sales leadership- mainly in pharmaceuticals and biotech. He started in the late 1990s and had the good fortune to get promoted to several different roles where he gained a good sense of the business. His break came when he was recruited away from a comfortable job by his professional mentor, and he literally said “yes” before even learning what he was supposed to sell! Within five years, they had grown the company (Avanir Pharmaceuticals) to the point where it was acquired. That gave Henry resources and choice, so he chose that point to step away from the hamster wheel pace. It happened at the time when the first few Blockbuster Video stores began closing, which was crazy for Henry. So he dove head-first into disruptive innovation and has remained in that space since then.

Henry’s background

Henry describes himself as a lifelong sales guy. He has always been extroverted, so he loves interacting with others. After spending 22 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, he had the opportunity in 2008 to help start a company in the Southern California area. After running the company for almost five years, it got purchased. Soon after, Henry’s intellectual curiosity led him to find Clayton Christiansen, the Harvard teacher who came up with the concept of disruptive innovation. Henry was fascinated with Christiansen’s ideas and decided to dedicate a good portion of his time to evangelizing about disruptive innovation. 

Tremendous opportunity

Society has been experiencing some radical shifts lately. As a result, disruptive innovation has taken on a different and more urgent tone, which provides a tremendous opportunity for business owners.

Disrupting businesses

Henry believes that if people are not disrupting their own businesses, someone else will do it for them. He feels that disruption is much easier for smaller businesses because they are more agile and less challenging to transform.

A moment of doubt

It is not unusual for disruptors to experience a moment of doubt and wonder if they have done the right thing. 

Processing innovation and change 

Henry has found that the further we get from our years of schooling, the harder it becomes for us to process new things that do not work for us immediately. Now, when he does not want to opt for some change, he seeks to understand the forces driving the change, why it is happening, who stands to lose, and when. That helps him detach from the emotion of the situation and look at it objectively.

Disrupt Ready 

Henry and two other partners recently started a company called Disrupt Ready. They provide simple, face-to-face technical education for legacy executives on how the blockchain works and help them facilitate a connection to the third-party tech players that match what they want. They designed Disrupt Ready with adult principles in mind.

The Disruption Innovation Index

Henry and his partners at Disrupt Connect came up with what they have called the Disruptive Innovation Index to help executives by giving them a sense of where they are as a company and as an individual.


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Henry Hays Consulting

Henry Hays on LinkedIn