To disrupt in business means to interfere with the status quo, to instigate change, to challenge assumptions with an idea or product to create a new market. Centralized around the concept of disruption, the DISRUPT conference is an annual, student-led business symposium at Acadia University where speakers from a variety of industries converge on campus in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to share their ideas and experiences with Acadia Business students. DISRUPT relies on contribution from all participants to start conversations that will lead to conclusions around what disruptive motivators are, how they can influence disruption in daily routines, and how to adapt to these disruptions. Acadia Business Society Vice President of Marketing Meg Ostling was involved with the planning of DISRUPT17, and she described the event as
focused on driving change and exploring how disruption exists within the workplace, as well as across different industries. The goal of the conference is to encourage students to think further about their future and to take action in achieving their goals.
Speakers in 2017 included Dave Culligan, who was working on his Video Project 365 during the conference. He described his experience on Instagram, and explained his goal as a speaker was to
encourage or inspiring some of them to think critically about what they want to accomplish as students, as Nova Scotians, and as human beings. Other speakers included Sajid Butt of Irving Oil, David Eisnor of Futurpreneur Canada, Scott Estabrooks of Commercial Financial Services, Malcolm Fraser of FCV Interactive, Jennifer Gillivan of the IWK Foundation, Chris Houston of SurfEasy, Emily Konrath of Valley REN, Stefanie MacDonald of Halifax Paper Hearts, Diandra Phipps of National Access Cannabis, Christine Pound of Stewart Mckelvey, and Jeremie Saunders of Sickboy Podcasts. With both traditional and atypical business experiences, these speakers brought different perspectives to DISRUPT, which allowed all attendees, both students and business professionals, to learn something about the conversation from a different point of view.
The goal of DISRUPT is to provide students with insight into the business world through speaker interviews, networking activities, and a World Café. The World Café is an element that differentiates DISRUPT from other conferences. It provides students the opportunity to talk with speakers and peers in small breakout groups, and allows everyone in attendance to participate in the discussion on disruption in the workplace, no matter what that workplace might be. Meg Ostling explained it best by saying the conference provided
students with the opportunity to interact with business professionals to gain insight on industry specific trends and to ultimately feel educated and excited about moving forward into the workplace. Organizers of DISRUPT18 look forward to next year’s conference and are excited about its possibilities. Will you be part of the conversation?