Can you imagine whole industries being wiped out?

Can you imagine whole industries being wiped out? - Innovation ExcellenceBig Data and harnessing technology seems to be threatening everyone in its path

So we will be seeing not just the young start-up rapidly scaling and replacing larger incumbents but new trillion-dollar businesses emerging, wiping out other trillion-dollar businesses, this is a foretaste of the disruption to come even more than we are already witnessing.

Presently we have to deal as much with fear and anxiety as we are scratching our heads and absorbing this pace of change, all driven through technology and the flow of money into it

The ramping up of rhetoric around Big Data certainly is fueling this angst of fear and anxiety but is pointing us towards the changing landscape we are traveling towards. Clearly the emergence of Big Data is a phenomenon we can’t ignore. But will it disrupt as much as being talked about, or just simply allow the incumbents in the market place to respond and adjust their businesses to accommodate this? Time has an impact that is immediate, but also it has an influence on our futures.

A McKinsey study finds French companies that have undergone thorough digital transformations may unlock revenue gains of up to 40 percent, while companies that do not quickly become digitally integrated could lose up to 20 percent of revenue to competitors, now that is significant by any account.

Harnessing technology, adapting business models, exploiting data, scaling fast all become vital to adaptive infrastructures, even I’m told building stacked ecosystems, all modular, layered, highly granular and extendable as you go, are the requirements within this disruptive world to thrive.

Increased rhetoric is not helping me at present, it is making me uncomfortable

One of the big consulting firms writes “winning big by thinking big” and is suggesting larger companies will turn out to be among the biggest beneficiaries of initial big data implementations. Why? In their words, “although big data projects still pose challenges, larger companies appear to bring more to the table.” I’m not sold on this. I feel the usurper has the edge over the incumbent. New models are like new species, they are faster at adapting to the changing landscape

Maybe we all have to be on edge, it makes us sit up and focus as others go jumping over the cliff screaming “disruptive whoopee” for our lemming moments. Are we all jostling for the leap, caught up in the moment, feeling great about the launch into the unknown?

Disruption and change is all about market transitions

I was listening to one of the World Economic Forum’s debates around “digital in context,” it confirmed much. The discussion led off with “watch for market transitions”, “don’t be slow to adopt” and “if you don’t reinvent, you will fail.

The underlying message was that data has a real currency to all our organizations. They were suggesting 40% of our current enterprises will be gone in 10 years and with the digital revolution there will be a completely different landscape of winners and losers. There will be no hiding place with connected technology.

So we will increasingly see technology killing off jobs, causing dis-location, forcing many into life-changing choices. We are seeing increasing conflicting and fragmenting positions that are causing growing uncertainty. The “cost to serve” is continuing to be driven down, and data is driving this. Add dislocation and deconstruction to disruption, destruction and digital.

We all need to keep moving

We are all being warned to “keep moving”. I often feel we have become like our forefathers, a nomadic tribe that is both physically being forced to move, to hunt the jobs that allow us to live and to keep applying knowledge found through the internet to survive and thrive.

So it does seem we are in the “disruptive era” but I prefer to think this is more a ‘transformation’ period, often uncomfortable since much of its boundaries and borders are not clear. It is fluid and we need to adapt to this flow until the disruptive events subside into something we have learnt to accommodate and manage. It is transforming much of what we know, our technology and all that comes with it.

Yet, we need to equip ourselves to be empowered in this transition, we need to keep constantly engaged and attempt to figure out what’s next or at least go with the flow. We need to keep our focus on outcomes and not get caught up in the inputs into the process.

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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating

Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft is recognized for his consistency to champion and informs on innovation. He focuses on building innovation capacity, competencies, and capabilities and promotes innovation in informative, creative and knowledgeable ways, piecing together the broader understanding of innovation. Paul continually constructs a series of novel and relevant frameworks to help advance this innovation understanding and writes mainly through his posting site of where he regularly publishes his thinking and research based on solutions that underpin his advisory, coaching and consulting work at




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