Disruptive Technologies – A Threat Or An Opportunity
“If you were satisfied with yesterday, you would not have tomorrow for today”
These are scary times for managers in big companies. Their track record for dealing with major, disruptive change was not good even before the Internet and globalization.
Out of hundreds of department stores, for example, only one—Dayton Hudson—became a leader in discount retailing. Not one of the minicomputer companies succeeded in the personal computer business. Medical and business schools are struggling—and failing—to change their curricula fast enough to train the types of doctors and managers their markets need. The list could go on.
In spite of having the ability to sense the disruptive changes ahead and having resources to confront them the managers fail to succeed. This is due to their inability to think about their organization’s capabilities. Before rushing into the breach, managers must understand precisely what types of change the existing organization is capable and incapable of handling. In trying to transform an enterprise, managers can destroy the very capabilities that sustain it.
When a company faces a major disruption in its market which could change the business fundamentally, the managers take a call on how to organize the response and allocate resources. This depends on the managers’ perception about the change that takes place. If we see a change as a threat, we tend to react defensively, taking immediate, aggressive action to protect ourselves. However, if we see the same as an opportunity, we tend to be more deliberate and reasoned in our response. Managers set the context of disruption. They tend to frame it and shape strategies.
framing the disruptive change in singular terms – as either a strong threat or an independent opportunity could lead to a major failure. It’s possible to arrive at an organizational framing that makes good use of the adrenaline that a threat creates as well as the creativity that an opportunity affords. When the money and other resources were allocated, we need to see disruptive change as a threat. But when the hard strategic work of discovering and responding to new markets begins, we have to treat it as an opportunity.
Adopting the Right Innovation Technology to Support the Innovation Framework is the most important measure that a wise man would take. To know the balance between playing safe and to gamble over all or nothing is the need of the hour for organizations today. Whether you choose Incremental (Sustaining) Or Disruptive Innovation depends upon factors such as Resources, Processes, Values, and Framework. Some sectors are characterized by rapid change and disruptive innovations, others by smaller, incremental ones. But generally speaking, there is no need to put all your eggs in one basket. It would be better to find the balance between two approaches.