Self-disrupt before someone disrupts you
Disruptive innovation is about how life, business and the global economy is rapidly transforming through technology.
The PwC Chair in Digital Economy, Professor Marek Kowalkiewicz, presented at the ‘Disruptive innovation: the hidden opportunity’ event hosted by QUT on Monday (November 9) and discussed how these technologies could impact Australian businesses.
Prof Kowalkiewicz explains the concept of digital disruption using cows:
You build a business by owning a cow and selling its milk to your neighbours. Your neighbours like your idea so they too buy a cow and start selling milk.
To gain an advantage, you buy six cows and expand into a nearby town. Your neighbours and those in nearby towns do the same.
Soon the market gets too crowded, so you start branding your milk to provide a clear point of difference.
No surprise as to what happens next.
When you apply this situation to transformation in the digital space, it’s easy to find examples of digital disruption.
Airbnb has made an impact on the hotel industry and Uber is doing the same in the taxi industry.
Soon to be released, an app will filter news articles and advertisement on a particular topic (starting with the Kardashians) and replace them with helpful news stories and charitable causes. This is set to disrupt the entire digital advertising space.
It’s no surprise that some businesses may start to worry about what might disrupt them. There is a high chance of something currently being developed or already developed.
Prof Kowalkiewicz, a former Senior Director in Silicon Valley, spoke about how it is vital to view disruption as an opportunity, rather than a threat.
“You need to build a disruptive innovation factory - and you need to be ruthless about it,” he said.
“You need to work continuously in looking for news ideas and in exploring how you can grow.”
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) policy advisor Catherine Pham attended the event.
Ms Pham said every small business had the ability to stay ahead of the game.
“Small business owners start their journeys with an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped them to succeed and get to where they are today. However, businesses find it difficult to carry that level of change and momentum over the long term,” she said.
“Unfortunately that’s where they are leaving themselves open for their competitors and new businesses to come and grab a greater share of the market.
“Small businesses need to refuel their entrepreneurial spirit and start thinking about what might potentially disrupt them and prepare for it. Even better, why not move in to that space themselves?
“After all, having a firm understanding and knowledge about the industry already will definitely provide an advantage over start-ups that are looking to enter.”