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Established firms pushing back on disruptors

Technology, planning, innovation, design

Rather than cowering to disruption, established businesses are poised to unleash the next wave of innovation on the global market, according to research by the IBM Institute for Business Value.

A global study of 12,854 respondents across six C-level roles – including 4,207 from the Asia-Pacific, China and Japan – found that continual evolution is helping incumbents to regain power from highly disruptive new start-ups.

In fact, 72 per cent of respondents said it was incumbent organisations, rather than new market entrants, that are leading spearheading disruption within their industry.

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“The organizations [sic] that are prospering aren’t lying in wait to time the next inflection point – the moment when a new technology, business model or means of production really takes off. Remaking the enterprise, they recognize [sic], isn’t a matter of timing but of continuity. What’s required, now more than ever, is the fortitude for perpetual reinvention,” the report said.

“It’s a matter of seeking and championing change even when the status quo happens to be working quite well.”

Another common thread among established companies is to focus more on their customer experience than their products, enabling them to capture market share where new companies can struggle to make headway.

That focus saw technology fall from top spot on the list of external factors expected to have the biggest impact on their business.

“In the 14 years IBM has surveyed C-suite executives, we’ve asked them which external forces will impact them most in the next two to three years. This year, market factors, which include things like increased competition and changing customer preferences, returned to the top position, while technology slipped to second place,” noted the report.

“People skills rose sharply to third place, recognition perhaps of the rise in value of intangible assets like talent and ideas.”

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Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Established firms pushing back on disruptors
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