Automobiles. Apartments. Laundromats. What do these “traditional” industries have in common? All three represent companies under leaders I know who are taking disruptive technologies seriously.
The auto dealer is not only studying Tesla – now the most valuable car company in the United States – but also autonomous vehicles, ride services like Uber and Lyft, and innovations in e-commerce sales channels – for cars.
One real estate developer is using 3D headsets to give prospective renters virtual walkthroughs of apartment properties. Another has installed Amazon’s Alexa device in every one of his apartment units. A third is re-considering the need to build full-size parking garages for his new buildings.
A leading provider of laundromat electronic payment devices was previously using 3D printers to create prototypes of some components, which were then shipped to the manufacturer. Now she uses printers to manufacture the parts outright.
Every leader is responsible for considering the opportunities and threats that disruptive technologies represent to their business.
Don’t ask, “Will any of these technologies impact my company?” Instead, the question is, “How will these technologies impact my company?” How do they represent opportunities? What threats do they pose?
Chief Executive Magazine recently identified twelve of the leading disruptive technologies that “every CEO should know about.” (Even if you aren’t a CEO, maybe you’re the leader who needs to inform the CEO!).
Current leading disruptive technologies include:
- Additive manufacturing
- Advanced robotics
- Artificial intelligence
- Autonomous vehicles
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Machine learning
- Next-gen genomics
- Software robotics
- Virtual and augmented reality
If you are not familiar with some of these, read more about them here on pages 22 and 23.
Effective leaders get out and get ahead of these disruptive technologies. Here are a few suggestions to help you:
- SHIFT YOUR PARADIGM: View disruption as an opportunity – not a threat
- STUDY: Build time in weekly/monthly to read and study these new technologies
- STRATEGIZE: A periodic SWOT analysis of your company should factor DT’s into your Opportunity and Threat review
Also, see the list of “10 Steps” on p. 24 of Chief Executive Magazine. One of my favorites is “Disrupt yourself” – think like a hacker, seeking out your company’s weak spots.
As a leader, remember that the strengths that got you to this point won’t be adequate for leading what’s next. Walmart used disruptive technology – warehouse automation, superior logistics, just-in-time inventory – to overwhelm the traditional retailers of its day. Now Amazon represents Walmart’s greatest threat, using e-commerce technology to bring the store to the people. And Amazon isn’t resting. It continues to disrupt. More of your holiday gifts will be packed by robots this year than ever before!
Recently, I wrote about leaders who are creative vs. reactive. Reactive leaders sit still and hope that disruptive technology won’t impact their business. But it will.
Be a creative leader who rides the wave of disruptive technology – exploiting its opportunities and preparing for its threats.
Speaking of “leading what’s next” . . . Do you have an area of your leadership where you want to “innovate?” Where you would like to lead in some “new” ways – that could bring profoundly different results? Here at The McKinnon Group, we are working every day with leaders who are letting go of old ways so they can be prepared for what’s next. Contact us to have a conversation about how we might help you or your team.