Disrupt or be Disrupted … why the pace of change makes reinvention of markets and business the best from of competitive advantage

June 22, 2018

The world of exponentially advancing technologies, driving new companies and new ways of working, new markets and new customer possibilities, means that our traditional linear approaches to business no longer work.

A typical smart phone today has more than four times the processing power of a typical supercomputer built in the 1980s. Humankind has created more data in the past two years than in all of previous human history.

With the pace of technology development – artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud and blockchain – continuing to increase, how can firms prepare to disrupt first before they are disrupted?

Here are some leading minds on the theme of “disrupt or be disrupted”:

“The Stages of Business Disruption,” by Deloitte tells a simple story of business and digital transformation, providing insight as well as a laugh. The point is that every business is digital today, and physical. Every business needs to disrupt itself, because otherwise somebody is waiting out there to disrupt it:

Exponential technologies create powerful opportunities for entrepreneurs, harnessing the network effects to multiply the impact of traditional businesses. In this video, Peter Diamandis demonstrates how tech enables startups to take on well-established businesses and industries.

Scott Anthony, CEO of Innosight and based in Singapore is a fantastic author, most recently of the book Dual Transformation. Here he is on how large organizations can successfully reinvent themselves and counter challenges from digitally enabled start-ups:

What really make people disruptive? Malcolm Gladwell, the man who gave us bestselling concepts like The Tipping Point and Outsiders, shares what he sees as the 3 characteristics of successful disruptors. Creativity, conscientiousness and a last character trait you wouldn’t expect.

Clay Christiansen has a particular take on “disruption”, slightly obsessively focused on how technology-based products can challenge each other over time. Here he applies his model of how an inferior technology often beats a superior, and how to forecast where it will happen next:

Claudia Batten talks about squiggling … In 2002 she co-founded Massive Incorporated, a new platform for advertising in video games which 4 years later she sold the company to Microsoft. She then founded Victors & Spoils, the first advertising agency built on crowdsourcing, and sold it to Havas.

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