Every marketplace and industry is currently going through a digital transformation. The days of having a “wait and see” approach in business are over. Your brand along with your products and services will need to continually evolve to remain relevant in a world dominated by increasing digital disruption.
The word disruption often conjures negative connotations. However, when we take a step back from the rapid pace of change, it becomes apparent that everything can be improved upon. Today, we have powerful new tools to not only improve what we currently have, but jump far ahead if we think big enough.
The reality is that Netflix was not focused on destroying Blockbuster or cable TV as much as they were focused on using new tools to reinvent how we all rent movies. If you focus on the competition, you will think like the competition and end up competing. It’s far better to look at the current methods for doing things, in this case renting movies, and then ask yourself a powerful question: Is there a far better way? That simple question, coupled with an understanding of what can now be done with the latest technology, will give you amazing and powerful answers. Similarly, the founders of Uber realized that the Taxi industry just wasn’t giving the service that consumers yearned for, they were often left feeling short-changed or frustrated. Could new technology redefine the customer experience? As we all know, the answer was yes!
This is one of the many reasons why so many businesses failed to respond to consumers evolving needs and expectations. They didn’t see the value in emerging technological innovations and as a result are now struggling to survive. As game changing solutions continue to be introduced allowing anyone to become a new competitor, now is the time to see disruption as your new friend, not your enemy.
The technological revolution is often accused of removing thousands of jobs as automation and outsourcing become all-too-familiar. However, we seldom read stories that reveal how technology is actually creating than it is taking away. We might not be able to sit at the same desk performing the same role for 20+ years anymore, but is that really such a bad thing? Isn’t it far less boring and far more exciting to be learning new skills and improving whatever you do?
Technology might be removing the mundane and monotonous jobs from our past, but it is also freeing us from daily routines allowing us to focus on tasks that machines cannot do as well. It allows us to deliver a new level of value to our customers and our business. Machines are getting much smarter, but they will find it quite difficult to replicate the complexity behind the creative and social intelligence that represents the essence of the human condition, we just need to embrace our strengths rather than resist them.
The phenomenal rate that technology continues to grow at is already highlighting a skills shortage where students often know more about the emerging technology than their teachers who were not raised on five screens. They might not have the time to invest in online research and self-teaching. As new roles begin to appear, there will be an inevitable skills shortage that is required to fill these new job opportunities, but sadly this is a subject that is not currently being dealt with quickly enough.
As our world continues to evolve at lightening speed, it’s easy to blame disruptive technology for changing what we once loved. However, we should be concentrating on learning new skills, identifying new opportunities, and looking at how our current roles can be redefined in a way that empowers us.
Each and every one of us has an inner desire to make our lives easier and more productive. I cannot help but think that for these reasons alone the phrase disruptive technology should not be considered offensive when we can learn to use digital disruption to dramatically improve the old, less efficient way of doing things. Replacing a past mindset with a future focused mindset that looks at new ways to improve existing services to make them more efficient should be celebrated rather than feared.
The secret to success will be taking continuous improvement to a new digital level. No one is safe, not even the new guys in town. It will be interesting to see if Airbnb or Uber will eventually see another new start-up disrupt their creation in this time of rapid disruption that is unforgiving to anything that attempts to stop progress in its tracks. Maybe, its time to remember that it really isn’t about disruptive tech, but about dramatically improving industries with both old and new technology.
How is technology disrupting your industry and what are you doing to ensure that your business does not get left behind?
DANIEL BURRUS is considered one of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including New York Times & Wall Street Journal best seller Flash Foresight.
Daniel Burrus is also the creator of The Anticipatory Organization™ Learning System–named a Top 10 Product of 2016.
The AO Learning System is a training process for executives and their teams to develop the skills to accurately foresee and take critical actions before disruption strikes.
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