Editor’s blog: Disruption is the new growth

Disruption is more than just the latest fad – how prepared are you and your business to deal with it?

In business, just like in life, there are many fads and buzzwords that do the rounds. Yet disruption is not one of them: instead, it is the ongoing transformation of established industries to the evolving digital environment.

During a discussion with a colleague recently, he made the statement that “disruption is the new growth”. And it’s a pretty accurate way of describing the current business environment.

On a daily basis, we on the My Business news desk see examples of people disrupting every industry imaginable – from mattress manufacturing to booking tradespeople to business travel – innovation and disruption have become the new norm in the business world.

And this trend shows no signs of abating.

At the recent Online Retailing Expo in Sydney, it was fascinating to see concepts for how the future of retailing may look. The use of digital technologies, such as ‘endless aisles’ on television screens and cameras hooked up to high-definition computer monitors, have the power to revolutionise the shopping experience.

Imagine being able to take photos of yourself trying on a dozen different pairs of sunglasses, then lining up those photos side by side on a screen to see which looks the best. Or looking at a full-length screen instead of a mirror, and at the push of a button, changing the colour of the clothes you are trying on to see which you prefer.

Then there are the myriad ways in which virtual reality technology is being employed – virtual stores for online retailers; virtual property tours for property buyers, particularly those buying off-the-plan; virtual demonstrations of new office designs and home improvements by the likes of interior designers, kitchen and bathroom retailers, fit-out contractors and so forth.

In saying that though, disruption doesn’t need to take place on a mass scale. Even tiny innovations, new ways of working and alternate processes can be disruptive in their own right, setting a business apart from its competitors.

From finding new ways of recruiting employees to shaking up the existing customer offering, and even tapping into social fads for business benefit – all of these display an element of disruptive behaviour in their own right, by finding new ways to improve services, get the jump on competitors and deliver stronger revenue.

The point is that business owners, particularly those who are well established, should not fear disruption. Rather, they should embrace it.

This doesn’t mean giving up on successful existing companies, products and services; what it does mean is looking for ways to make them even better or deliver them to a wider audience.

Alternatively, disruption could mean managing your back of house differently from your competitors.

Technology is here to stay, but its form will not remain static. Staying adaptable, flexible and innovative is, and will be, the way to become the most efficient, productive, popular and profitable business you can be.

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