Could This Happen to Your Business?

February 8, 2015

Many corporate Boards are now considering the topic of disruptive technology very seriously. That is, the sort of advances in technology that could side-swipe your business or your industry if you aren’t prepared.

Think about the impact that digital technology, for example, has had on all sorts of industries – music, print media, direct marketing and fulfilment, and so on.

I know that online shopping has seriously impacted physical retail businesses. Pop-up shops combined with online stores provide a new model of retailing.

Digital downloads, streaming video and audio have all changed the way that physical conferences and seminars can be held, and how they are priced.

iPhone apps are provided for free but build large databases of subscribers in very niche markets.

On a global basis, consumers using phones as cameras have completely disrupted the entire photo processing and camera industry.

So, be prepared as much as you can for advances in technology and the new business models that arise from them. You don’t want to become irrelevant in the face of new technology.

Three strategies to start assessing new technologies and their potential impact, or application, to your business:

  1. Subscribe to

Without doubt, this is the best resource to give you an overview of what’s happening globally with new technology and the rise of new business models.

I don’t need to say anything else. Just subscribe and it will open your eyes to a whole new world of possibility or potential threat.

  1. Monitor other businesses – globally

It is an invaluable exercise to monitor both competitors as well as companies in other industries on a global basis to see what they’re doing. Look at the best in your industry and in other unrelated industries for new ideas and new trends with technology. 2.	Monitor other businesses – globally. Could it Happen to your Business?

Let’s take Springwise as an example. They employ thousands and thousands of people globally as their agents, to simply identify new ideas, new business models, new technologies and other innovation, to feed into their database. Their ‘agents’ could be anyone: travelers, uni students, people interested in specific ideas; people located in a specific geographical area; subject matter experts; or just those who are curious about innovation.

Let’s transition that concept of people scattered all over the globe to send you information from the field, so to speak, and it isn’t hard to see how crowd-sourcing came into play.

  1. Have a conversation with your clients/customers

If they’re forward-thinking they will be closer to their industry than anyone else. They attend trade shows and conferences, are across the trends in their industry in terms of innovation, and also take a global view of what other businesses and industries are doing.

  1. Have a strategy session to address potential disruptive technology

Do your research along the above lines in preparation for a strategy session. Take a day out of your business, with key members of your team, to discuss how new technology could change or improve your business model, add a new dimension to your competitive advantage, or even change the game in your industry.

It’s a really worthwhile exercise and should be on the agenda for any strategic planning process. It will enable you to prepare for any threats of technology disrupting your business or your industry, as well as prepare you to innovate using the same technology. You also need to be prepared for new business models to arise as part of this process, which could apply to your entire business, or perhaps a new subsidiary.

The possibilities for growth and stronger competitive advantage are there, so ‘technology’ really needs to be a core component of your strategic thinking.

  1. If your age doesn’t start with a 2 or a 3, talk to a younger person

Discussing technology in particular, or just general aspects of your business with someone younger – preferably family or someone who genuinely cares about what you’re doing – can often be a really useful exercise.

They are more than likely to offer valuable suggestions and ideas around technology just because they’re usually ahead of the curve on new apps, tools, and ways to make using social media easier, just for example….

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