The speed and rate of change has never been higher. It took 75 years for the telephone to reach 50 million users, radio: 38 years, television: 13 years, internet: 4 years, Facebook: 3.5 years and Angry Birds: 35 days! It is also projected that by the end of 2015, 1 billion smart phones will have been sold, twice as many as the number of personal computers. Moreover, with the average smartphone now having more processing capability than all of the computers used to land man on the moon, there is literally a vehicle for mass disruption in our back pockets.

And it’s happening… Disruption and displacement of traditional markets, products, processes and business models is occurring at a rate we have never experienced before. This is a tremendous threat to businesses that do not adapt and capitalise on change. 

However, we are also living in a time that provides the bold and enlightened with great opportunity. In the history of the human race, never have we had so much access to information, knowledge, customers and new markets as we do today. It is easier than ever to create a multi billion dollar business purely because we can reach millions of customers instantly.

But to do this we need to look at disrupting our own businesses, before someone else does. By constantly innovating. 

The trouble is that even when you are succeeding at Innovation, you are only ever one new business model or technology away from being the underdog, and constantly staying ahead of the competition can be daunting, not to mention demanding. What makes things worse today, is that disruptive trends can create competitors that have never been considered or even conceived before.

Let’s use the rise of autonomous vehicles as an example. 10 years ago if you had asked the main automotive companies if they considered software companies to be their future competitors they would probably have laughed in your face. Here we now are in 2015 with the major disruptors to the automotive industry being Google, Apple and Uber, all with vast R&D programs underway developing the vehicles of the future. Electric and autonomous.

But the disruption goes further than just new entrants to an established automotive market. These companies are paving a path that includes new products, new business models and new ownership structures. We will no longer need to own a car. We will subscribe to a service where a vehicle will just turn up and take us autonomously to where we want to go. We will not own this vehicle, nor will we have to maintain it. 

And the disruption goes further still. These vehicles are proving that they do not crash. So what happens to the Automotive Insurance Industry? The crash repair industry? The automation also allows more vehicles to be on the road travelling closer and therefore eliminating congestion. They will never need to be parked while we work or sleep, so our cities will no longer require carparks and parking meters, no need for traffic wardens, road signs or driveways at our houses, less roads, less tarmac, less aggregate, less concrete, less steel… the effects hit far and wide. You do not just need to be an auto manufacturer to be disrupted and challenged by this technology.

Does this have to mean doom and gloom? No, not at all! This disruption will also provide great opportunity. New systems, components, business models and lower costs that if identified and understood early will benefit our businesses and create new industries for those that are thinking and working on the Innovation to bring them about.

So, how do we prepare for the new order of constant accelerated change? How do we implement and manage processes to identify, deal with and deliver Innovation faster than we have ever required before to ensure future growth and survival, on top of serving and maintaining our current customers and markets?

One thing is certain, we can’t sit around waiting. We need the confidence to be proactive, not reactive. We need to observe future trends and techs early and develop opportunities to capitalise from them, before they reach maturity.  To do this, we need to provide a structured and continuous approach to Innovation that can adapt, change and pivot to customer and market needs. 

Confidence comes from having a robust process, and this in turn will drive speed. By embedding Innovation systems, tools and processes into our businesses we’ll have the insights and ability to capitalise and prosper on whatever the future brings.

In the words of Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent…but the ones most responsive to change.”

For more information on how G2 can help you achieve the impact required for 21st century success click here.


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