I talk about the need for businesses to change all the time; to almost anyone who will listen. From Rochester, New York to Houston, Texas, I spoke about this very subject several times last week. The companies, big or small, who do not look to disrupt will be disrupted. Move in or move over. Join the parade or sit on the sidelines. However you want to describe it, it’s real, unrelenting, and fast. Saturday’s Wall Street Journal was filled with commentary, and analyses about Amazon possibly acquiring Whole Foods, and other stories of company acquisitions and new companies that are determined to disrupt the status quo. Christopher Mims detailed this shift and it’s eventual impact in his article, Tech Companies Spread Their Tentacles (at the time of this post, this is a gated article unless you are a WSJ subscriber, apologies).
Existing businesses that can’t respond by becoming tech companies themselves are going to get bought or bulldozed, and power and wealth will be concentrated into the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age.
The Wall Street Journal and other publications have become real-time textbooks for business innovation, mergers, acquisitions, and yes, even the demise of iconic brands. Every day it’s a new story and it challenges the way we think, buy, engage, evangelize and even forget companies.
A client of ours calls it disruptive innovation. Our client is a mature business in a mature industry but they are leading the way; they are encouraging their clients to join them in thinking boldly, acting wisely and sharing new ideas and service offerings to expand their reach and turn customers into raving fans.
I like the term disruptive innovation. It calls us to something new and positive with a sense of hope and guided adventure and risk. I’ve worked in mature industries and for people who said they believed in change and then at the last minute couldn’t take the brakes off. I get it. I sometimes feel that way myself. I force myself to think bigger and ask myself the hard questions about what I am willing to try and how I will continue to position our business. Change is not for the faint of heart. However, it is the only thing that is constant.
Whether a solopreneur or a global organization, many of the questions are the same: Are you willing to disrupt yourself and your entire company to do something bold and set a new course? What’s the worst that can happen? Where’s the vision? What do your clients need? How do they want to engage with you?
The companies that show their agility and brave the unknown with purpose and grit will be fine. In fact, I think they will thrive. And that is why, I am excited about the future. So check back in with us over the next couple of days for an announcement. It’s our version of creative, disruptive innovation.