For Mature Companies Only – Part Two

Ace Ventura: “I have exorcised the demons . . . this house is clear.”  From Ace Ventura – Pet Detective

In my prior blog, I outlined a few ideas around why mature companies should remain vigilant regarding the potential for Disruptive Technologies (which are not always technologies) in their industry.  It all sounded a bit ominous, and I did promise to help “exorcise the demons,” so I will provide you some actions to consider.

We all know that change is inevitable and best practices involve embracing that change.  They key is to prevent that embrace from becoming a stranglehold.  So, to help address the impact of disruptive technologies, mature companies should consider the following five steps:

  1. Develop a positive attitude toward innovation.  Get out of the office, stop gathering only where flocks go (like the standard industry trade show) and free up younger staff to explore the world of innovation and social media.  Appropriate MeetUps (you can even form your own) are a good starting point.
  2. Visit accelerators and incubators.  These are the new bastions of disruption and, the more you know, the better off you are.  Today in the NY Metropolitan Area, many of these groups are being formed around industries – food tech, ed tech, fin tech.  Visit them and get involved.
  3. Revisit you brainstorming/strategic approach.  Challenge basic assumptions and make sure those barriers to entry and differentiators remain in place and enhance them. Review your SWOT – there are solid reasons why your business has endured so make sure you remain focused on them.
  4. Know what your competition is doing.  It has never been more important to know this and by scraping data from the internet and social media, your horizons will be expanded and you will be able to counter new threats.  Keep in mind, the market is usually waiting for the market leader to embrace an emerging technology and, in doing so, you can retain a strong competitive edge.  Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your market position.
  5. Follow the money.  There are billions of dollars available to fund new ideas.  There is also data available on what is getting funded for you to review.  Many established and technology companies (like Google and AOL) have their own venture arms and on a daily basis, complete deals which are “disruptive” to their own disruptive technologies. Many start ups seek to partner with the industry leader to use that positioning to further develop their own growth strategy.  Be ready to take advantage of it.

So, my advice is simple.  Do not put your head in the sand and ignore what may be developing around you.  The success of these disruptive technologists cannot be ignored and I would bet if you reflect back on what you did today, you will see at least one example of how they have altered your actions as a consumer.  Embrace the change and use your strengths to maintain your position of leadership and your company will continue to prosper.

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