The CIO office sits at the intersection of technology and the business, but if the majority of CIOs don’t feel that their industry or business is facing the “prospect of being disrupted” then it’s unlikely that they’re preparing an appropriate defense or offense. If this is the case, by the time your business does begin to feel the implications of disruption it’s safe to say that it’s going to take you too long to transform and respond by which time you’ll inevitably witness the erosion of your core revenues, a decline in share price, mechanical restructuring and layoffs. If you’re the CEO then all of this is bad news but for the new breed of entrepreneurs your inability to react quickly to changing market conditions or opportunities is a godsend.
Whichever continent, whichever industry and whichever demographic or social group you look at, the signs of disruption are everywhere and it’s accelerating at a frenetic pace driven by a new wave of global 21st century entrepreneurs who last year registered over 100 million new companies and who are all being powered by the same new democracy, but unlike the political democracies that we’re used to in the west this democracy is unstoppable, sweeping across China, Africa and the Middle East and at its heart is technology.
Today, technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and as it does so new social, mobile and cloud based technology platforms are helping people around the world collaborate and communicate easier and faster than ever before, find funding, information and expertise faster than ever before and helping them create, build, distribute and sell new products and services faster than ever before. This democratization – of ideas, resources and channels is fuelling a new innovation arms race unlike any we’ve seen before.
The people have a voice. They have ideas. They have resources and they have funding. They have the power to create, and hundreds of millions of them are. They also have the support of governments and hundreds of billions of dollars of funding from investors around the world. They’re disrupting everything and they’re using new tools and technologies to build agile businesses that have already generated trillions of dollars’ worth of new value. The next generation of business leaders aren’t coming they’re already here and Airbnb, Alibaba, Box, Dropbox, Facebook, FireEye, Hailo, LinkedIn, Lyft, Palantir, Ratesetter, Service Now, SpaceX, Square, Tesla, Twitter, Uber, Whatsapp, Waze and Workday are just the beginning.
Every industry is already being disrupted and it’s only a question of time when you realize your business is at risk. Embedding digital DNA into your organization is one answer because it helps speed up the pace of your business and allows you to pivot faster, but unless you innovate and create the right offensive and defensive strategies you’ll be overtaken sooner rather than later.