3 of the Most Disruptive Industries in 2020

employee working with digital tablet and computer laptop smart phone on wooden desk

These aren't the only three disruptive industries, but they're certainly the most notable.                                                                           

Carter Liebscher|
August 12, 2020

The new decade has presented all industries a number of challenges. Here are a few players overcoming those challenges with the aid of innovative tech in 2020.

As we approach Q4, your organization is probably gearing up for your annual performance review. With this year starting off (and most likely ending) on a disruptive note, your findings might be a bit different from previous years. Nonetheless, it’s still worth benchmarking your organization against your competitors, even if you’re not expecting a huge overtake.

It’s especially worth it if you’re in any of the three industries we’ve identified as disruptive and ahead of the innovation curve. Keep reading below to see if you’re included!

Health Care

We regularly talk about the latest developments in healthtech, and for good reason: Healthtech and their proponents have far-reaching influence, and the impact they have on all types of patients is great.

Of course, we can’t talk about health care in 2020 without addressing COVID-19, which has upended the industry (and practically all others). The pandemic has created issues on all organizational fronts, from necessarily capping visitor totals to postponing elective surgeries.

Nonetheless, health systems have found ways to offset these issues with current but not widely-used tech offerings. Telehealth has accelerated by a decade, reports STAT News, changing the public perception of digital care and the internal use cases that before were paltry.

“There’s the assumption in primary care that you always had to have in-person contact, and that telemedicine would be unsatisfactory, or wouldn’t fill the void. That’s been exposed—actually, it’s safer, it’s quicker, and it’s easier. If I just have a quick question, I want to see someone and engage them and see their focus is on me […] People are now seeing this model, which we thought would take years and years to develop. And it’s probably been accelerated by a decade.”

“9 ways Covid-19 may forever upend the U.S. health care industry,” Lev Facher, STAT News

Artificial intelligence (AI) is, alongside telehealth, the most promising (i.e., disruptive) piece of tech that has tapped into in greater scope this year. AI has been implemented in the form of virtual assistants, leveraging patients’ desire and now necessity to receive care from home, and in pattern recognition—the latter of which has even greater potential for diagnostics and treatment in the years to come.

Despite the industry’s obvious challenges, health care has proven to act with agility and provide cutting-edge care for the safety of patients and professionals alike.


Large incumbent law firms have long seen disruption in the form of small legatltech firms and the tech they specialize, like (again) AI and automation.

Today, certainly as a result of COVID-19, more incumbent firms and legal services providers—particularly those that have worked with tech providers in the past—are looking toward implementing some of the very tech that has caused them a bit of strife.

For example, global firm Mayer Brown has created the Global Traveler Navigator tool, a publicly available map tracking travel, visa, quarantine, and general health checks around the world. Similarly, Dentons created a Global Employment Tracker allowing businesses to view their obligations to global employees.

Even if these firms aren’t the rule presently, they’re certainly trendsetters for this year and the next.

“How many companies are taking on new initiatives right now? Probably very few. But if you’ve already done some work with a technology company and you already have a working relationship there, that’s probably an amazing opportunity for the tech company.”

“A Down Economy Could Have an Upside for (Some) Legal Tech Startups,” Frank Ready, Law.com

As stated in Bloomberg Law, many legaltech vendors are seeing traditional firms consider the benefits to their products amid the current circumstances. While it may be the exception and not the norm, the outlying firms are setting a disruptive precedent that will carry over into 2021.


Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve looked to the manufacturing sector for the latest production and organizational innovations—and that still rings true today.

Industry 4.0, the name given to the current and fourth industrial revolution, is all about real-time flexibility in the production process. In other words, production machines are used for more than one product within a short time frame.

Connectivity is another focus of the fourth industrial revolution, both between production machinery and between employees. Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices are allowing for more frequent communication between clients and employees and, a necessity now, remote work—a previously novel working style that was before seemingly impossible in manufacturing.

Manufacturers are also paying attention to the latest developments in robotics, with robot orders up 5.2% through Q3 in 2019—a total value of $1.3 billion. That number will only rise as we exit 2020.


These three industries aren’t the only ones that have responded with agility to this year’s stressors. However, the years (closer to decades) of R&D these particular three have put into testing and piloting new tech lends them innovative authority.

Want to benchmark your org’s innovation response against others? Watch our latest webinar with Mike Rodgers of EmOpti, where he explains how vital frontline innovation is—
even amid crisis.

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