Astronaut vs dynosaur
Astronaut vs dynosaur

The business that survives is the one that is able best to adapt to the changing digital environment


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According to Darwin, it is not the strongest that survives but the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment. This is still true in the digital world.

Digital dinosaurs

Nokia 3310
Nokia 3310

To start, let’s remember the time when Nokia was ruling over the mobile market with as an example the Nokia 3310. Nokia was first threatened by BlackBerry who introduced a keyboard and was already a smartphone. But both Nokia and BlackBerry were themselves eliminated from the competition by a device that was proposing the whole surface of the phone to type and take advantage of a bigger screen. How can it comes that they did not see the change coming?

Reinventing from inside

Probably, the fact is that it is very difficult for a company to change its own business model from the inside, especially when the sales are good and the company is successful. Who wants to kill the goose that lays golden eggs? Secondly, if the change is coming from inside, it means that the ones that build the previous solution are accepting a change. 

A good example of a radical change from inside is the story of Netflix. The company started in 1997 by proposing a service to rent DVDs via postal mail. Netflix challenged its own business model in 2007 by introducing streaming. Today, DVDs have disappeared like dinosaurs.

Disruption from outside

Sometimes, the disruption comes from a newly created company. You can refer to the examples of Uber who shook the business of taxis, or Airbnb who modified the hospitality business, or Tesla who is threatening well-established motor companies around the world. What do they have all in common? Probably, they have nothing to preserve and little or no limit to creating totally new stuff. 

For a less radical option and if you are not ready to buy a startup company, a good option is to incorporate new blood in your organization by hiring new employees or interim managers to drive the changes. They may have fewer barriers to invent if they are free enough in their movements. 

Are you still learning?

Additionally, what works for a whole business is also working on an individual scale. To be able to cope with changes in a moving world, the best approach is to continue to learn. My grandfather who is now 98-year old, is asking me each time we meet: “Serge, are you still learning?”. Hopefully, the answer is yes. I am learning AI and ML as an example but more, generally speaking, I am learning each time I am writing on my blog

Digital drivers

Finally, what are the digital drivers that we should carefully watch? I would say:

  1. Cloud computing is still something very promising as we are moving from Virtual Machines to containers to serverless architectures. Moreover, multi-cloud strategies could offer more possibilities to a business that can afford it. 
  2. Artificial Intelligence is becoming mainstream and AI won’t be limited to startups. More and more product functionalities will be powered by AI. 
  3. E-commerce is becoming accepted by the vast majority, fueled by the covid pandemic constraints. The habits that the users are taking now won’t be gone with vaccines. A good e-commerce strategy is probably to think mobile-first as more and more purchases are done using a smartphone. One must also consider new UX possibilities offered by chatbots, voice assistants, and social networks. 
  4.  Automation, IoT, 5G, and robotics will modify a lot of industries, while Robotic Process Automation will transform services, including the finance and insurance industry.
If you are considering those changes in your ecosystem, there is a chance that you will drive your own disruption. If not, you may end like a dinosaur… 

 See also

Will Digital Transformation ever end?

Tesla is more a tech giant than a car manufacturer

Airbnb IPO defies gravity with a rise of +112%

A summary of Andy Jassy’s keynote during AWS re:Invent 2020

Photo and video credits

Photo of astronaut and dinosaurs by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

Video by Carlos Arribas from Pexels

Nokia building, Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Photo of Nokia 3310, Multicherry, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

BlackBerry Photo by Randy Lu on Unsplash

Netflix videos by Taryn Elliott and by cottonbro from Pexels

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