There you are, trundling along as usual, operating the same old business model or selling products that have always sold well. Then some digital development or other comes along and flattens your market without so much as a by-your-leave.
Digital disruption is the change that happens when new digital technologies and business models impact the value and relevance of existing goods and services. It can be dramatic stuff. Here are some recent examples of digital disruption.
Uber – Ending a global monopoly
The Uber taxi app trashed the long-lived Cabcharge system, and it only took a few months to do it. As soon as consumers discovered Uber they adopted it in droves, proving – as if you needed reminding – that consumers wield an enormous amount of power and are very good at engaging with services and products they genuinely value. As a result they are also as fickle as hell. When something better comes along, most of us are more than happy to jump ship.
Liquid Space – Breaking into office rentals
The Liquid Space app links empty office space with people who need it. Any office suite with spare space can rent it by the hour, week, month or whatever. Early signs hint it might completely kill off the traditional high end serviced office market, which can charge a king’s ransom for a simple desk and phone, especially in London. Anyone in that sector needs to innovate fast before it’s too late.
LIFX – Revolutionising the light bulb
Not long ago it was just a light bulb. Now it’s part of the internet of things. LIFX have invented an efficient light bulb controlled via a smartphone. So what? So the company is using the internet to add significant value to something that used to be a simple commodity. And as a result the people who sell light bulbs suddenly need to acquire a new set of skills and gain new knowledge. The best people will survive the change, those unable to catch up won’t.
Hello Real Estate – A seller-focused estate agency scene
In Australia Hello Real Estate is changing the face of estate agency forever, putting the sale process back into the hands of the seller. They let people sell their own home for a fixed fee, with no estate agent commissions. Better still, they make the whole process easy. If you’ve ever bought or sold a house in Britain, you’ll know that ‘easy’ is the last description to come to mind. Look out, estate agents and solicitors.
Digital cameras – Changing the world forever
Few digital disruptors are as powerful and wide-ranging as digital camera tech. One minute we were all using film, the next it had disappeared, and it all happened frighteningly fast. Digital cameras went global in no time, thanks to camera phones, and these days the only cameras using film are novelty machines a bit like the old Kodak Instamatic, which print your photos out as you take them.
Which dinosaur of a sector is next in line to be changed forever by new tech? As long as the change genuinely benefits the consumer, we’ll adopt it without a second thought. If the benefits aren’t wholly clear and obvious, a new digital innovation can fail. Whatever happens it makes sense to keep your eye on the ball and move fast if a new digital development enters your horizon, whether it’s a threat or a good thing. In the meantime, we can help you streamline your business so it works like clockwork from every angle.