Even when you think you are on the right track, sitting still could get you run over.
The world around us is moving fast. As Einstein said, ‘you can't do what you've always done and expect different results’. You can't just keep working harder and faster hoping to keep up. You won’t. Instead you’ll get disrupted.
How do you avoid being disrupted? By understanding where the potential is for your business or industry. The first thing to understand is the two types of disruption: direct disruption and indirect disruption.
Direct disruption is when you see your competitors moving and it impacts you directly.
If you’re a lawyer, a direct disruption might be your competitor launching an artificially-intelligent legal tech platform that offers the same services as you for a 10th of the price. For traditional retailers, it was expected to be Amazon.
With direct disruption, you can see it coming but typically respond too late. Meaning spending valuable time and money playing catch up.
In terms of costly resources, indirect disruption is worse.
A classic example is autonomous cars. The technology is fast-developing and every car manufacturing company has now committed to autonomous vehicles.
In Australia, we will start seeing autonomous vehicles on our roads by 2022 to 2025. If you’re a car manufacturer and you aren’t moving into autonomous electrified vehicles, you will be directly disrupted, but it's the indirect disruption we need to think about. Let’s think about what that might look like for a moment.
Human-centred vehicles become mobile hotels, mobile cafeterias and mobile entertainment centres. We will have systems to make coffee and food in the cars. We won't need to leave the cars on long journeys, we will sleep in them, so we no longer need to stop at hotels.
What if we take this indirect disruption to houses. How do we design houses when we don’t own cars?
If we don't own cars, we don't sell cars and second-hand car sales go down. How will insurance change? Do we need driving licenses if cars are autonomous? How do autonomous vehicles indirectly impact driving instructors?
This is far bigger than direct disruption, it goes on, even to our cities. If a city is enabled by autonomous vehicles there are no street signs. The cars are highly accurate, can talk to passengers and the cities infrastructure so there is no need for parking meters, parking wardens or parking lots. What do we do with that space?
This is all indirect disruption, creating change all over the place very rapidly. This is the future, but it is also our present. It is here now, it is starting to happen.
You can't just keep doing what you've always done, if you just sit there you'll get run over.