Identifying opportunities and threats of disruptive technologies
Nothing stays the same forever and with the advent of the computer age, the pace of change is accelerating at breakneck speeds. Many advances are complementary to existing business structures and can be readily adopted and used to enhance your business model. Disruptive technologies on the other hand can threaten and in some cases destroy entire businesses. Kodak, for example, was a thriving business right up until 2012 when it was literally overrun by digital technology. Change happens and often massive changes happen very quickly. The old adage adapt or die has never been more valid than now.
Disruptive technologies are emerging that will affect all existing industries and perhaps create new ones as well.
Here are some of the most innovative, exciting and challenging emerging disruptive technologies.
- Virtual Reality offers much more than gaming technology – technology that can immerse your customers in a total user experience offers massive opportunities in terms of sales and distribution. Volvo recently offered virtual reality test drives using Google cardboard technology. You can expect more innovative uses to come.
- Block Chain Technology and Cryptocurrency. This emerging technology is responsible for Bitcoin. Many Internet users are already paying for goods and services using Bitcoin and it has some massive advantages over traditional forms of currency -not being subject to exchange rates.
- 3D Printing is already being used to supply products as diverse as musical instruments, artificial organs, car parts and medical equipment.
- The Internet of Things – the control of physical objects by using smart technology is only beginning. We can already remotely control air conditioning, household security and even turn on kitchen appliances.
- Smart technology and Robotics. Artificial intelligence is already a reality. It is going to become more and more prevalent over the next decade.
So, how do you identify and capitalise on emerging technologies that could potentially disrupt your industry and your business?
There are some critical principles that can help you to identify and adapt to disruptive technologies.
- Do your research. Take the time to invest in researching emerging technologies that could affect your business. The internet, technical journals and business analysts can all be sources of valuable data. Forewarned is forearmed. When you know what’s coming, you can dare to plan on how you can apply the technology to your business.
- Dare to do. You can’t afford to be complacent. Sticking to the status quo is a sure fire way to ensure that your business will die. Take calculated risks to grow your business. Of course the more research you do the more calculated the risks become.
- Have a survival strategy. Being prepared for a worst case scenario is imperative. Even the best prepared business can be blind sided by an emerging technology. If this happens, you have to be bold and brave. There is no sense in holding on to a dying business model. You need to be ready to identify new and emerging opportunities that you can diversify into.
- Be prepared to make tough decisions. Constant monitoring tracking and analysis of your business trends is essential, if this analysis reveals that sectors of your business are failing you can make necessary adjustments to ensure your business’ survival.
- Adjust your organisational structure. Cut out unnecessary levels of bureaucracy and ensure that your decision makers are equipped with clear guidelines and objectives. Make sure you have the right people in the right places.
- Keep your customers, employees and partners well informed. Change is challenging to everybody. Clear communication is vital to ensure that you keep all stakeholders on side with any changes that you need to do.
When it comes to disruptive technologies perhaps the most important thing is to adopt a positive attitude towards it. Adopting a survivalist strategy will in all probability have your business in perpetual survival mode. Finding ways to embrace and utilise disruptive technologies is going to help you to not only survive but to thrive.