Harnessing disruptive trends to generate business 

Economy June 26, 2018 01:00


DISRUPTION is here. Although it may sound like an over-used term or some passing trend to some, but the reality is disruption can be seen in every industry today.

In fact, the world is about to change even faster by the second and this is not just about the speed at which disruption caused but also the acceleration in the pace of change. 

To give you some astounding figures, Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist at Salesforce tweeted last year that it took airplanes 68 years, the automobile 62 years, light bulbs 46 years, and television 22 years to hit the same user milestones. But YouTube, Facebook and Twitter hit that 50-million user mark in four, three and two years, respectively.

What’s the underlying implication from this information?

It shows that with the current disruptive trend, it’s not a matter of ‘if’, rather about ‘when’ that you should be worried about. As business leaders, it is absolutely critical in this age we live in that we understand the magnitude that disruption and change has on our businesses. For this, failure to keep up can cause dire effects.

An article from IBM suggests that the failure to keep up with technological trends can affect the way organisations react to the technological shifts in the marketplace. This can pose significant risks for businesses and jeopardise the organisation’s competitiveness or any future growth.

In our fast changing world today, how do we, as business leaders, keep up with the change? How can we harness these disruptive trends to create much needed business opportunities?

For this, I’d suggest that the starting point for every executive is to understand where their industry sits. Then, ask yourselves these following questions. 

First, when was the last time you questioned or re-thought about your own business model? 

In today’s world, the business model become radically different. It becomes much more complex and it relies heavily on sharing reward and massive cross-collaboration. Part of the reason is because people are living differently, their working habits, their lifestyles are greatly affected by advanced technology; hence, you cannot implement the same business model that was once beneficial when conditions are now changed. 

Second, when was the last time you built a structure and corporate culture to accelerate innovation? 

For innovation to happen, it is critical that leaders build a structure and culture that allows everyone to innovate, celebrate failures and learn from past mistakes because only those who never try, never fail. 

Third, when was the last time you really tried understanding your markets and customers?

There’s no surprise that comfort zone can be tempting to stay in and so you would opt for running business as usual, but can such approach still apply in the disruptive world where everything is constantly changing at a fast pace. The answer is an obvious no; hence, you need to spend time trying to gain new market and customers insights in order to advance in today’s world.

Fourth, when was the last time you re-examined your customers’ journey?

Total customer experiences have become the unique selling point for a lot of companies as everyone desires for amazing experiences. We build our bucket lists based on what we think will give us the best experiences. So, when customer journey has become the determining factor, for companies the customer journey itself must be evaluated and changed overtime to fit with the changing conditions.

Fifth, when was the last time you leveraged and looked for opportunities from your ecosystem? 

In the current business climate in which ecosystems and platforms form a greater role for our innovation outcomes by opening up boundless possibilities of interactions and exchanges, companies that can change their thinking and make the most of these offering benefits from ecosystems will likely to win more than others. 

Lastly, when was the last time you inspect your customer dynamics?

In the so-called battle of attention era, we must become customer-obsessed. Not just ‘customer first’ as in the past but now we need to know our customer’s needs, passion and their ways of live. We need to put in a lot of effort in trying to understand and retain them. All in all, to take advantage of disruption, business leaders must deploy a comprehensive strategy - begin with having a growth mindset, then lead innovation with design thinking, empathise your customers to truly understand their needs to grow your businesses. 

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading Executive, Leadership and Innovation Capability Development Center. 

She can be reached by email at ARINYA_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa