Adopting constant change to cope with change
An old proverb says: "When the winds of change blow, some build walls, others windmills.” Life and business change continuously, and the way we react to change determines our survival or failure as individuals, as a company or as a society.
Consider that 88% of the Fortune 500 companies in the world in 1965 are no longer on that list. Corporate resilience has worsened, and the 100 largest companies on the Fortune list from 1980 actually no longer exist.
We don’t adapt to change because we misunderstand its nature and swiftness. We perceive it as a threat and therefore focus on strategies that only aim to protect what we have at all costs. In truth, change is the only constant and it accelerates at a dizzying speed. Some examples of this are fiber optics, email, in vitro fertilization, bar codes, the Internet, the Web, mobile phones and smart devices. In this reality, surviving means changing our mindset: switching from dealing with change once a year to handling it perpetually.
Most businesses —regardless of their size— have little chance of surviving, except when they are adequately equipped to deal with a continuously changing world.
There are three forces: disintermediation, democratization and disruption. They were already in movement before, and are now coming together to create a bigger storm that will bring about change. In the next decade, these changes will totally transform the business world.
In economics, disintermediation consists of eliminating intermediaries in the supply chain, i.e. closing the gap between supply and demand by using technology. A radical disintermediation has just begun. The forces that have already changed the way we move around the city (Uber), find holiday accommodation (Airbnb), buy books and goods (Amazon) are about to spill over into every sector where there is a gap between supply and demand that can be minimized or eliminated.
In business, the change created by democratization refers to the possibility of making an exchange between the parties in the value chain. Consumers can become investors (through crowdfunding), they can become banks in a peer-to-peer relationship (Zopa.com), producers of goods (3D printing), sellers (eBay).
From innovations in techno-finance to 3D printer production, to the expansion of the collaborative economy, democratization means that threats to our business can come from anywhere.
An extremely large disruption, with few geographical and social boundaries, is expanding astonishingly. Therefore, we cannot plan our growth based on a linear projection from our current position. We have to ask ourselves how the dynamics of our sector could change and threaten our current supply. What can we do better to serve our customers more effectively? What technologies can we use, what opportunities does our business have that will help us transform a potential risk into an advantage?
The key ideas of "Powered by Change"
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