Disruption/innovation is all about taking advantage of other people's weaknesses and creating a competitive advantage for yourself in the marketplace. The incredible digital revolution that is going on right now is making innovation quicker and more sudden than ever before. No business is safe from a disruptor suddenly stealing your market or affecting your business or job.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of listening to Xero Chief Marketing Officer Andy Lark @kiwilark talking about how Xero disrupted the industry and turned itself into a global $2.2 billion company. With Uber and Air BNB making an impact in Australia, it's clear that disruption is all the rage. But disruption is not new - it's been around the beginning of time. Disruption is another term for the word "innovation".
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Are you running tenders?
If so, get rid of them. Tenders are the best way to get the same old response from the same old established businesses that are experts in writing tender responses.
To be a partner to your disruption, if you can't do it yourself, you need specialised wizards to sit with you and forensically analyse all of the possibilities in your industry. This collaboration finds the weakness in the market that you can then attack.
Tenders are a one-way request for responses to the questions you ask.
But how do you know you even asking the right questions? It's difficult to answer the questions of a tender as the farcical conservative tender questions constrain you from being innovative. Tenders defeat innovation.
Imagine if Apple tendered the supply for a manufacturer of a smart phone, what would they have got? Too often, the tender is weighted to those that have a track record in doing the same old thing. Playing safe is not disruptive.
Are you pushing your knowledge boundaries out of their comfort zones?
If you are a CEO or on a board, it's time to jump into the rapidly evolving marketing and Information Technology world. These two skills are driving the disruption of industries. Easier to use interfaces, better-presented solutions all using mobile devices, cloud technology and great marketing fuel disruptive ideas.
Über is a software company, not a cab company; Air BNB is a software company, not an accommodation provider.
It's the crossroad of interface design meeting cloud distribution to solve problems in the disruption world. Is your skill set up to scratch? Is it time to get wiser?
Do you really understand social media, pixel tracking, audience remarketing, omni-channeling, automated marketing, lead scoring, e-commerce, the internet of things, fin-tech etc.? It takes lots of time to learn as the market is moving very fast, but if you don't understand the technology, how can you make decisions about it? You are exposed.
Are you spending any money or time on research and development?
Even if is as simple as listening to a podcast about unfamiliar topics, or going to an IT, IOT, social media or content marketing conference. Your research can lead your company to greener fields.
Businesses constrain themselves by just doing the same old thing. If your business continues to do the same old thing because "that's the way it has always been done", you are walking a very dangerous path.
Being the same opens you up for attack from those businesses that are innovating. Just ask the taxi industry about this one. Is it time to boost up the R and D Budget?
Are you tenacious in removing the blocks that prevent innovation?
When you know you have a good idea, it may be a person, a personality, a stubborn board member, a difficult partner that is stopping you. Do you press on or give up?
The great disrupters all tell similar stories of ruthless determination to succeed against all odds. Are you bold enough to remove negative people and the naysayers from the progress of your great idea?
Do you have the determination to change the world?
Disruption means you disrupt the status quo; it's never going to be easy.
Let's face it, Steve Jobs was many things, but he was no coward when it came to pushing through traditional barriers on the way to greatness. Will Uber beat the government regulation of the states of Australia? You can bet your $5 taxi fare they will. They are determined (and now very cashed up).
Disruption starts with the acceptance that customers are going to get better options presented to them in your industry by somebody.
But is it going to be you? Do you have the determination to innovate your industry and your business? If you don't then sit back, relax (for the short time left), and be ready to combat the juggernaut businesses with their new, game-changing disruptive ideas. Be careful - you don't want to bring a knife to a gun fight.
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