Dealing with disruption

Mention the word disruptors, and businesses such as Uber and Airbnb spring to mind. In reality, disruption goes much further than just agile organisations taking advantage of new technology to turn traditional business models on their heads.

Disruption can come from competitors, the market, customers, or even from within a business itself! And while the word ‘disruption’ is firmly on the way to becoming somewhat hackneyed, it is also important to remember that the notion of disruption is not a new one at all. It has always been human nature to push boundaries and find faster, better and more efficient ways of doing things. It is just that a combination of advancing technology and evolving customer expectations has accelerated disruption to unprecedented levels.

Take the automotive industry as an example, it is facing disruption from multiple sources. There is backlash against diesel and a rising prevalence of electric cars. Car ownership itself is changing, not just in favour of leasing, but also subscription and car sharing services such as Go Drive. And, of course, there is the idea of driverless cars looming on the horizon.

All of these elements raise some big questions for the industry. What happens when customers stop buying vehicles? What happens when cars have 10 times fewer parts? What happens when customers stop driving cars?

While organisations in the automotive industry may not be able to answer these questions straight away, what they can do is approach disruption in a sensible, uniform way.

This is something that applies to all industries. When facing disruption from any source, stepping back and running through the following check list is key:

Five point disruption check list:

  1. What is the threat? Qualifying how big a risk a particular disruption poses to your business
  2. How quickly will it disrupt? Establish how soon both the industry as a whole and your business specifically will be affected
  3. What opportunities does it present? Identify how your business can benefit from the disruption
  4. How quickly can you respond? Know how long it will take you to act on any disruption
  5. What are your strengths in responding? Identify where you can lead the way to steal market share.

While being able to answer the above points, as well as having an overarching strategy which includes a clear business vision is vital, it is also very important to be able to identify exactly where disruption is likely to come from.


Download and read the full ‘Disruption report’ here.

Talk to us if you want to learn more. 

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