Recently, we had the chance to attend the Annual Meeting for the State of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council. The meeting consisted of many discussions on disruptive topics like the integration of using robots and humans in the workforce, the internet of things, cloud technology, and the logistics of manufacturing. One of the major takeaways from the event that got us thinking however was the subject of disruptive technology, a topic that will sure to be a part of the discussion at our upcoming National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016.
Technology which creates a new market and value network that eventually starts to interfere with an existing market is classified as disruptive technology, and it can happen in almost any market. Take for example the app driving service, Uber. Though the actual service they provide is fundamentally no different than a traditional taxi, the technology they base their entire business on has stolen market share at an alarming rate. In the span of just over a year, business travelers’ adoption rate of Uber jumped from eight to thirty-one percent which is now topped only by car rentals. Disruptive technology like this can be hard to predict or combat, so how can minority businesses stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive edge? The answer is to become disruptors themselves.
Of course, the key to any competitive edge is innovation. But innovation can be a vague answer to problems and isn’t something you can just check off on a list of things to do to make your company better. It’s important to understand that innovation doesn’t have to be revolutionary or cutting edge technologies that are going to completely change everything. Often, innovation is just small reinventions or shifts in business strategies as evidenced by the Uber example. Keeping this in mind, it’s not surprising that innovation isn’t always born from massive R&D budgets or extensive resources. Innovation comes from people sharing ideas. Employers who can better facilitate environments where its employees can brainstorm, share, and test new ideas will be better prepared for changes in the market.
Stagnant companies unwilling to reevaluate themselves are doomed to be overcome by the constant forward march of innovation. Though constantly reinventing can be difficult, core values and competencies that make a company unique don’t have to. But preparing for and embracing change should be a trait that every business should have in order to not only stay ahead of the curve, but become disruptors themselves.
Source:Balakrishnan, Anita. “Uber More Popular than Taxis for Biz Travelers.” www.cnbc.com. CNBC, 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.