No Time for Dipping Toes: A Digital World Demands a Deep Dive Into Action
There is no question in anyone’s mind that for enterprises to thrive in this tech-led world, action is required. But what action, exactly? And how do you move forward?
This year, ParadigmShift gathered 100 senior executives, experts, and innovators from around the world to explore the new way forward through the theme Action Required: The Future in Real Time. The event was held in Toronto, a city making global headlines as a booming innovation hub, home to tech giants and more than 4,000 startups.
Author, serial entrepreneur and chairman of Creative Labs, Leonard Brody, kicked off ParadigmShift with a quick dose of reality: “We are beyond the days of tepid response. This is not toe-in-the-water business anymore. This is two feet fully in, bold responses required. The problem is the vast majority of companies are not taking these bold responses.”
The message from all of our speakers was clear: the time for waiting, pontificating and timid half-measures is over. And just as change continues to accelerate, the consequences of waiting are even less forgiving. Chris Murphy, managing director, North America at Thoughtworks, didn’t mince words, saying, “Organizations that fail to act decisively and evolve are becoming the equivalent of embarrassing parents standing at the school gate.” Savvy investors, customers and talented employees are losing patience with dinosaurs and will move to more forward-thinking companies without looking back.
There was virtually unanimous agreement at ParadigmShift that technology is an essential tool in the drive to reinvent processes and business models to meet – and better yet, anticipate – emerging customer demands, industry trends, and business realities.
But there was also a growing acknowledgment that technology shouldn’t be adopted for technology’s sake, and that the dizzying array of new possibilities doesn’t mean that every new tool should be used by every company. ParadigmShift made it clear the pendulum is swinging back toward a more realistic take on the role technology can, and should, play in a successful business strategy. Action may be required, but it needs to be quality action – which is defined by specific characteristics.
What action requires
1. Anomalies: Disrupt your own business
Where Madonna encouraged you to ‘express yourself,’ Leonard Brody might say ‘disrupt yourself.’ He notes that in many cases enterprises content themselves with cosmetic changes - a fancy new face on a website built on top of crumbling infrastructure, or a half-arsed, underfunded, bolt-on innovation silo team - when new realities demand action that is far more ambitious and impactful.
So what does a bold response look like? According to Brody, it might mean taking a sizable chunk out of your own core business. “Build the thing that will cannibalize your own business,” he advised. Better you than someone else, right?