The term disruption describes the effect that the internet and new technologies have had on all types of business. Disruptive is that force that upsets, creating an interruption and causing a change in what was previously considered normal.
It does not refer only to innovation, but also to the way people think, communicate and act and forces companies and business models to change. We live in a sort of digital Darwinism: either upset or you will be upset.
- Motivation: feel that you have a mission, a higher purpose and act driven by this force. It is definitely the mental attitude with more disruptive force . The more meaningful our activities are, the more satisfied we feel. Motivation is important for both individuals and companies; like a sort of compass that keeps you focused in difficult moments, giving you the courage to make crucial choices, guaranteeing the humility and empathy needed to be a good leader.
- Responsibility: act with awareness, thinking about the consequences of our actions, without taking it out on factors external to us. There are at least four areas in which we must be fully responsible: continuous training (taking care of our personal and professional development), IT security (preventing the risks of hacking, avoiding errors and lightness), ethics (remaining consistent with the company values) and the personal brand (taking care of our online presence).
- Collaboration: share and work in a team. Be collaborative to exchange ideas and operate with greater agility. We must seek and accept points of view different from ours, be ready to share information and content, have the curiosity to work in new ways, using different tools, know how to make decisions quickly. The collaborative economy makes use of a precious currency: trust, which is shown, experienced and earned.
12 technologies to exploit
1. The web
To do business on the web, the most disruptive forces are:
- social media : it is important to have a clear vision of what we want to communicate, the platforms in which to be present and the strategies to be used. Content that involves, educates, entertains and enriches potential customers must be created.
- eCommerce : no company can afford to ignore online commerce. The customer is not only looking for the best price; trust and credibility are essential elements to proceed with the purchase. Trust in the eCommerce platform, in the product and in the company that deals with distribution.
- peer-to-peer : sharing resources among peers, such as the marketplace and lending . The marketplace is a platform where goods and services are sold between private individuals, or between private individuals and companies, or between two companies. The lending refers to the lending of money between individuals or between individuals and companies, without intervention by the banks (examples such as Zopa and Funding Circle).
2. The smartphone
It is the preferred device for connecting to the internet and is increasingly tending to become a mini-computer. For this, companies must have a mobile-first strategy, designed first of all and specifically for the smartphone, with these characteristics:
- smart : create value and solve user problems;
- productive : through apps and tools, help people to be more productive, even if, as you know, the greatest productivity is obtained when mobile phones are turned off!
- adaptive : adapt to continuous technological changes;
- costumer-focused : putting yourself in customers’ shoes, understanding needs and concerns;
- etiquette : take into account the impact that the use of the smartphone causes.
3. The cloud
If we can work remotely, we certainly need to thank the cloud. With a computer and an internet connection, we access information and documents useful for carrying out our work: the office is always with us. Cloud means accessibility everywhere, more storage space, great processing speed and back-up security, possibility of collaborating remotely.
The fact of always being connected and having data and documents available at any time can be a limitation for our private life, so it is important to be able to distinguish between work and family life. Many companies are still skeptical about using the cloud, they fear that having software and information not physically stored in their buildings is synonymous with vulnerability and loss of control.
4. Cyber security
Cyber security refers to the protection of computer systems from theft, damage and interruption. Malware is the term that includes all “malicious” software, the list of which is constantly increasing. From the moment a device connects to the internet, it is potentially hackable. The best strategy for a company that wants to protect itself effectively is to combine excellent protection systems with a vigilant and responsible attitude of employees. In addition to identifying the essential data to be protected and promoting the sense of responsibility of the collaborators, it is necessary to have an emergency plan and work internally so that the integrity of the company can never be questioned.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
By the Internet of things is meant the connection and connectivity between the real world and the internet. The number of devices that can connect to each other is estimated to grow exponentially from 2015 to 2020, increasing by 285 percent. We already have examples of cities, cars, connected houses and factories. Thanks to this technology, companies will be able to provide the customer with a better shopping experience: instead of trying to guess what customers want, the information obtained thanks to this technology will help to have a clear and complete picture. The Internet of Things applies in a variety of sectors, including health, fitness, safety, agricultural automation, consumption, energy savings and traffic management.
6. Artificial intelligence (AI)
It is a technology that concerns the development and use of machines for activities normally associated with the cognitive functions of the human brain, such as solving problems, making decisions, making translations and speeches, recognizing images.
Artificial intelligence is useful in all those repetitive activities, in which the human contribution is negligible, in the management of large amounts of data and information, for the improvement of performance in physical work, to replace people in remote and inaccessible areas.
The development of robotics and artificial intelligence has the direct consequence of losing jobs for many people. Even in cases where this does not occur, we will still have to learn to work with artificial intelligence.
7. Big data analytics
Refers to the process of analyzing large volumes of data. Big data have three characteristics:
- volume , a huge amount of data, a direct consequence of the advent of the digital age;
- speed , the speed with which information is provided in real time, unthinkable up to twenty years ago;
- variety , big data come in different formats, come from different devices, have different codes and languages.
These three characteristics force companies to reflect and review their marketing and communication strategies. One of the biggest risks for a company is that of not having a clear big data strategy; an inadequacy in this sense can cause losses of market shares at best, the extinction of the company at worst.
8. The blockchain and cryptocurrencies
They are two connected but very different things. Cryptocurrencies (the best known is Bitcoin) are digital currencies, independent of banks, whose transfers are self-regulated through digital encryption, with transactions much cheaper than traditional ones.
Blockchain is the technology with which transactions are stored securely and reliably, ensuring transparency and security.
In a world where trust is a rare and precious asset and privacy is everyone’s concern, blockchain technology is able to satisfy both requests. It does not only concern financial services, it can be applied in contracts, in the management of digital identity, in title deeds, in public administration.
Blockchain is a highly disruptive force capable of disrupting the way we do business.
9. 3D printing
It is a rapidly evolving technology that allows you to print three-dimensional objects starting from a digital prototype. It might seem like a poorly disruptive technology , but that’s not the case at all.
3D printing allows you to save on prototyping and production, not limited to printing small objects, as shown by the Chinese company Winsun, specialized in printing houses.
This technology responds to the needs of sustainable development, embraces the needs of digital craftsmen and the desire for personalization and originality in the creation of objects.
It revolutionizes the canons of logistics and distribution, giving the possibility to print on site instead of relying on the production and delivery model.
10. Energy storage
It is a technology that concerns the ability to acquire, store and distribute energy in the most effective and efficient way.
One of the biggest challenges in the field of renewable energies concerns the management of availability and storage.
There are five main energy storage systems: thermal, compressed air, flywheel, battery and hydroelectric with pumping storage.
Energy storage will be a matter of strategic importance for those countries that want to increase their autonomy and for production plants that want to operate exclusively with the use of renewable energy.
11. Automatic driving and assisted driving
An assisted driving car uses functions implemented by the computer, while an automatic driving car is a driverless vehicle programmed to travel from one destination to another without any human intervention.
These two sectors are growing significantly, thanks above all to the contribution of companies such as Google, Apple, BMW, Uber, Audi, Volvo and Tesla.
Safety is a decisive factor in the development of these technologies, as well as the moral question: how should the vehicle be programmed to react in the event of an accident? Save the driver and those in the car, or save as many people as possible?
Also this technology, like all the other disruptive forces , is not something independent, but it is strongly connected to the others, in particular to big data and artificial intelligence.
Genomics is a branch of molecular biology that deals with the study of structure, content, function and evolution of genomes.
The leader of genetic analysis is the American company Illumina, which provides tests with entire sequences of genomes, to understand the information contained in our DNA.
With a better understanding of our past and the potential of our future, we can act better and more effectively in the present.
We can try to prevent the onset of diseases to which we are predisposed, for example.
And when we realize that we are not what we thought, that is to say that we descend from distant ethnic groups and territories, the world becomes smaller and the foreigner, perhaps, makes us less afraid.