Sometime in the 1990s in Big Valley California, a guard lost his keys. A little past dusk he began his frantic search. His was the night shift and the gates had to open for evening guests. The passersby noticed his predicament and joined the rake. Together, they turned the stretch upside down. Nothing was spared, not even the undersides of the planters. The guests had now started to line up. Peeved by the commotion and the wait one of them asked:
“By any chance do you remember where you might have dropped it?”
“Yeah. Down the alley, I guess.” The guard said.
“Then why are you searching for it here?”
“Because here is the street light.”
Dear Strategists, does this ring a bell? Have you been looking for solutions where they can be easily found?
For decades, the strategist fraternity depended on the waterfall method of planning. Like a paddle of ducks crossing a highway on a warm languid day, without much urgency and thought, their activities leisurely progressed one after the other: design, planning, implementation and then testing. It all seemed so easy that the business doyens almost got inclined to take them as expendables. Strategy began to look like everyone’s affair.
Disruptive technologies stampede scattered the huddle. Those who still depended on the obsolete waterfall method of working found themselves at the end of the agility and innovation line crushed to obscurity by digital innovations running at breakneck speed. Business leaders realized their oversight, the damage was done. But this time they need experts and they are seeking them more than ever.
Change is no stranger to economies. The business universe has been alternating forever. It paced up during 1970s technological revolution and turned the world geographies into a homogenous mix, more or less. But that was a predictable trajectory. The changes were visible and they took time to mature. You could almost see the hurdles, the speed breakers and the way ahead. Disruptive technologies, however, forked the route to the agile highway. Before you saw the hurdles, they hit you hard on the face. Because when it comes to digital disruption, barring a few cases of robots and robotics, most of the changes are in the virtual dimension. You don’t see them coming.
So how do strategists, who are on the driving seat of this innovation bus, address this shift? Their take on processes, talent, systems and most importantly innovation will decide the future for many others who follow their lead.
Three prime drivers are shaping the contemporary disruption strategies: Scale, reach and experience.
A market overhaul demands a mindset overhaul. Strategists need to continuously challenge their mindset. In the words of Graham Waller, Gartner Research Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, “All leaders should regularly challenge their thinking and invite challenge from others to evolve their mindset assumptions, beliefs and paradigms to ensure they remain matched to their particular marketplace reality”.
Tip 1: Regularly interact with mentors, entrepreneurial leaders and venture capitalists to understand the market and consumer mood. Rethink your strategies. Possibly brace them up with a fishbone analysis.
The good news is, joining the digital disruption race doesn’t always mean a complete overhaul of your existing technologies. And you don’t need to be a Facebook, Amazon Web Services or Google to contend. Even small companies can compete and thrive like Wearsafe Labs that uses a mix of multiple technologies (IoT, smartphones and social networking) to provide a “social safety net” for runners and hikers. A combination of existing and new technologies can be your best bet.
Tip 2 : Entry barriers for disruptive technologies are low. Use it to your advantage.
Organizations often fail to make-out a disruption from a fad. Fleeting successes like Pokemon Go and Google-glass bloom and fizzle fast. Try to locate your customers’ behavior and upcoming trends. Keep a track of investor investments and the developments in the related market. Use the expertise of data scientists to dig the data lake for you.
Tip 3 : Go for sustainable models. Use data for decision-making.
Working in isolation can lead to distorted insights. While CIOs are at the driving seat of this drive, partnering with other stakeholders like CFO, CMO, business heads and VPs will give a broader picture. B2B disruptions may need partnering with the stakeholders in the supply chain probably with the VP or the CMO and B2C disruptions may need inputs from the CMO.
Tip 4 : Innovation isn’t a one-time affair. An innovation-culture that involves concerned stakeholders can be the most vital pivot for your future strategy.
For more insight, visit The Strategy Institute’s page.
Happy Strategizing! Happy Maneuvering!
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