Kodak saw it coming. Revolution in the photography they helped to create, and digitalize. And yet their business model and ecosystem they created could not change its direction. The same “revolution”, now called disruption is coming again. It is Digital. And it will influence all the businesses. What does it mean for yours? And how to leverage it? .

Let’s start with some stats. 52% of Fortune 500 companies merged, acquired, gone bankrupted or gone off the list before the year 2000(1) (2). If you wonder why, I must tell you it was not due to the problem with the Internet and the dotcom bubble or problems to finance their services. It was due to a business model disruption. It is a 'winner takes all' market. In every category, TOP-3 players take 40-70% profits and 40-77% of market share. If you do not adapt, you will lose.

A transformation started with Napster and how it reshaped music industry in the 90’, followed later with Steve Jobs introducing iPod and Spotify start. Then with Hulu and Netflix taking traditionalist Blockbusters (DVD rental chain) out of business. Uber and taxis. Airbnb and hospitality industry. Skype and WhatsApp and telecoms. The list goes on and on.

The group of just four companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google - are generating wealth in pace not seen previously in the whole history. Currently (2017) there are only six countries in the world that GDP surpasses the market validation of those companies, as Scott Galloway, Founder of L2 Inc, and Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern points out.

Why is it happening?

Because the access to the tools for bringing innovation to the market and access to the capital has never been easier. The cost to deliver a product has never been lower either. Moreover, as the cost of the complete process goes down to everyone, it goes down for you.

Of course, your business will not end overnight. Nevertheless, the market is changing day after day. It comes to the point that you either eat (by becoming disruptor) or will soon be eaten (disrupted).

What do experts advise?

Adapt your business model to new times and create the stronger, better, more innovative and open business and internal culture. One that enables to fail, and then learn from the failures and recover quickly. One that works top down - supporting processes of innovation from executives to bottom. One that gives space to experiment.

How is the Agile related to all of this?

You see, Agile was one of the disrupting factors. But not as a particular one framework or methodology, but the approach to run a project or business. In fact, Delloite Landscape of Agile shows that there is a plenty of ways to bring flexibility to your business.

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With Agile companies can deliver product faster, test it and adapt to the market condition quicker. It is the same tool that can help your organization to get on board to both protect your business from the change, and to lead the change yourself. Your teams will collaborate and with your clients daily to bring the best solutions for their problems.

How can you stay ahead of disruption?

Understand how digital is transforming your industry. Observe the trends. Enrich your innovation teams with the inter disciplinary people, as this will bring freshness. Revise your business model. And add lean agility to your operations.

Few examples how “traditional” companies are adjusting to the changing situation:

  • Coca Cola introduced to market Freestyle machines, which allow free mixing of 100 different taste combinations
  • Utility companies use predictive maintenance and sensors to increase reliability of power networks
  • One plumbing company started to install sensors for the showers in the hotels, as well as monitoring for free. From maintenance, they enter new customers and offers their services and products.
  • Consumer companies tend to offer experienced rather than products
  • Logistics companies use crowdsourcing to deliver parcels more efficiently

Food for thought

Currently, there are at least 167 Unicorns (or 215 according to CB Insights) - startups valued at $1 billion or higher. It used to take companies 20 years to reach such evaluation, and now it is coming much quicker (Take a look at the pace of rising evaluations of Google, Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb or other big players).

It is easy to look at start-ups and so-called Unicorns with envy. They are unencumbered with the legacy systems, processes, structures, and people that characterize established players. Small players tend to be fast, agile, and innovative. Yet, established companies also have advantages. They often have strong brands, deep industry relationships, extensive knowledge, large customer bases, and access to capital. These companies need to become digitally agile.

-points out Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD University.

Get ready, and you can become a surfer, who rides on the highest wave with excitement and calmness. Controlling the situation and enjoying the ride.

If you found this interesting, share the article with your friends and colleagues. Moreover, share your thoughts with us. What industry are you in? Do you see any transformation happening?