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  • Are You The Disrupter or the Disrupted?

    Daniel Burrus, Are You The Disrupter or the Disrupted?

    Thanks to advances is processing power, storage, and bandwidth, our devices are getting exponentially smarter each year. For example, a data processing task that would have taken two days to complete in 2010 now takes just 10 minutes. That’s powerful!

    As a result, our smart phones and tablets are getting smarter fast. And because we can use our smart phones and tablets to tap into super computers in the cloud, we now have super-computing capabilities in the palm of our hand, no matter where we are in the world.
    While rapid changes like this usually brings major disruption to the way business has been done, let’s remember one key thing: Disruptive technology is only disruptive if you didn’t know about it ahead of time. 

    If you use a strategy I’ve been talking about for years, namely separating the hard trends (the trends that will happen) from the soft trends (the trends that might happen), and you use that knowledge to make the disruptive technologies visible before they disrupt, you can then ask yourself an important question: “Do I want to be the disrupter or the disrupted?”

    Frankly, I would rather be the disrupter, using predictable disruption to my advantage. But since many organizations have a large infrastructure, they’re unwilling or slow to change and take on that role. They have technologies that have, in some cases, been in use for decades—what we call “legacy technology”—but it’s not the legacy technology that’s the real problem. It’s the organization’s “legacy thinking” that gets in the way of positive and productive change.

    In reality, you need to get past legacy thinking by identifying the hard trends that will impact you and your customers in the near future so you can more clearly see a path to greater profitability in the years ahead.

    In the past, we tended to work hard at protecting and defending what we have. That approach further entrenched us in our current business model. The more we protect and defend what we have, the more we’re engrained with our current model. A better approach is to reconsider our business model based on the predictable changes that are heading our way.

    It’s clear that over the next five years we’re not just going to change; we’re going to transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate. And much of that transformation is driven by mobility.

    So it’s time to take a look at your business model and determine if you are transforming (not merely changing) it based on the hard trends—the certainties—you can see going forward. And if you are, are you doing it fast enough? Remember, the future is all about speed and relevancy. So now that you have the speed and power in your hands, it’s time to use it…and fast.
     

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