Everyone is talking about disruption – but what is it and what should you be doing about it if you’re working for a firm that operates with a traditional business model? That’s the question we tackle in the first of our new podcast series, Digital Disruption Briefings.
“People use ‘disruption’ to mean the arrival of new technologies – blockchain, virtual reality – new business models – Uber, Airbnb – or big macroeconomic shocks like Brexit. It’s impossible to give one piece of advice that will apply to all of those,” says Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School (LBS).
David Craig, President of Financial & Risk Business at Thomson Reuters, agrees. “Disruption is a word that’s bandied around a lot because we all want to stay on our toes.” Disruption is nothing new, he points out – his company, established in 1850, distributed financial news via carrier pigeons before that model was disrupted by the arrival of morse code.
Now, he says, “The confluence of new technologies and consumer expectations, along with the pressure on cost and performance, is creating a perfect storm. That’s what makes this an exciting but nervous time for business leaders.”
Talking about how his own firm has innovated, he says, “We’ve encouraged our middle managers to experiment, try something out and show us. Come forward with something tangible that you can demonstrate. There’s a lot of talk going on about disruption – let’s turn it into action, let’s see it.”