Disruption has become one of the most popular buzzwords in the business world. Originally used to describe ideas and technologies which could transform industries, it has since come to be closely associated with digital solutions. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is often referred to as a disruptive technology, as is blockchain, big data, and even cloud computing. In reality, it’s just a new way of describing how new innovations are changing businesses today.
Disruption sounds desirable as a buzzword. But experiencing disruption isn’t something most of us enjoy. After all, it refers to enormous and rapid change, usually with long-lasting consequences. In the business world, it’s all about innovating quickly to keep up with the constantly evolving demands of the market. Being complacent and failing to innovate inevitably leads to business failure. What happened to Blockbuster is a shining example of a company that failed to address the changes sweeping their business.
With disruptive innovation comes risks. For example, new legislation is being enforced all the time, all over the world, to combat increasing concerns around privacy and security — Europe’s GDPR is an example. This increased scrutiny is revealing serious flaws with modern technology and the way organizations use it.
And when you innovate blindly instead of innovating to address core business problems, you increase the risks.
Stop creating distraction, and focus on business value
Whether it’s virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or something else entirely, most of these so-called disruptive technologies are valuable for certain industries and situations. But they’re not always a perfect fit for everyone. For example, moving all your operations over to the cloud as quickly as possible just because everyone else is doing it can expose your business to serious risk.
When it comes to innovation, sometimes it’s better to take a backseat and focus on your core business challenges first. Joining the bandwagon of new market trends and solutions should only come after you’ve got your house in order. All too often, businesses move hastily into new markets and completely change their way of doing things; as such, they end up alienating their customers and causing reputational damage and financial loss.
Instead, organizations should take a proactive approach that focuses on resolving existing programs with current solutions. Are your employees spending a large amount of their time trying to resolve otherwise trivial technology problems they’re not best equipped to deal with? If so, it might be time to outsource IT support. Do your customers spend too much time on hold during a call to your service hotline? It may be time to modernize your customer service technology and procedures.
Achieving business alignment through strategic thinking
One of the reasons why digital transformation initiatives fail is that they try to innovate too quickly without considering the risks. Investing in disruptive technologies adds complexities and increases burden on your internal team. For creative thinking and innovation to succeed given the risks, you need to adopt strategy too.
On the other hand, you can’t expect to succeed if you ignore the changes that will undoubtedly affect future markets. Strategic thinking isn’t about always chasing after the latest shiny new objects. Sometimes, you need to avoid them; other times, you need to prepare for trends which will adversely affect your business. Being strategic means aligning your processes with existing technology and, at the same time, adopting a culture of continuous improvement in line with customer needs.
Disruption is one of those hyped up terms which constantly barrage today’s markets. Yes, innovation is good and essential for business survival in an era of rapid change. But if you don’t take the human factor into consideration, as well as the unique needs of your customers, you could end up in a much worse situation than when you started. In the end, it’s about focusing on core business goals and aligning technology solutions with those goals. In doing so, you can boost your adaptability to change and reduce the risk of becoming one of those companies which fail to innovate or, just as bad, end up getting too far ahead of themselves.
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