With every new tectonic shift in technology comes a new workplace response; a new experience that eventually snowballs into a larger cultural transformation down the road and impacts how people experience their everyday routine.
That’s right, disruption is here to stay.
The digital disruption of today compels new thinking and behaviors that “end” one trend while ironically giving rise to new awakenings that previously didn’t exist. In other words, with disruption comes the opportunity for eruption–the closing of one door and the innovative opening of another; the opportunity to create and proliferate, as well as wither and die (organizationally speaking, of course).
The beauty of the disruption economy is that it enables two opportunities. First, it allows companies to redefine how and why they work. Such an organizational awakening then leads into the second opportunity for companies to adopt: a better way to serve employees who choose to work there because they believe in the company’s purpose.
If you really think about it, disruption is the very essence of redefining one’s value proposition, purpose or product. At its core, to disrupt is to end X and subsequently create Y. How else does disruption cause eruption in today’s competitive landscape? Too many to count, but here are five to consider:
1. There’s a “new” innovation
Open innovation is the “new” innovation. Every company out there worth its brand wants to create its own future of work. Some do so better than others, perhaps because the term open innovation is so loosely defined. Open innovation is defined as “the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively”, whereas closed innovation is innovation derived from internal sources.
In special operations, we had Advanced Force Operations (AFO) whose mission was to prepare the battlespace for future missions; teams that would scout the “next frontier” for enemy intelligence, trends, tactics, techniques and procedures, then report back to us so we knew what to train for and how to do so effectively.
The point is, the knowledge sharing economy opens the door to exponentially greater opportunities for innovation to spawn. Nobody is smarter than everybody, and the same is true when looking outward from one’s organization rather than inward.
2. Technology and cultural changes
Changes in technology breed new consumer behaviors, which consequently inspire novel approaches to marketing and selling. Consider the difference in motivation between Millennials and previous generations. Millennials are driven by purpose, conscious capitalism, autonomy and meaning, rather than their wealth-seeking generational “ancestors” (I feel so old now). What’s more is that in 10 years Millennials are expected to represent the majority of the workplace. How will you adapt to these changes?
3. From tangible metrics to intangible
Success in the workplace today is comprised of two components. Sure, data and financial figures provide clear answers to the street and to investors, but forward thinking, transparency, autonomy, collaboration and effective leadership solve the “people problem.” Without the intangible elements of human capital, nobody will be around to pull the organizational levers that create tangible rewards. Resources such as theleader.io, Grow, and Satisfaction at Work are doing just that—enabling positive working environments that allow motivation to prosper.
4. From physical to virtual
The shift to mobile, cloud and networked communities present a disruptive challenge: selling to consumers who don’t “exist.” Previous generations liked to physically visit a store, feel and see products, whereas consumers today do so virtually, thus making it much more difficult to cater to the in-store experience.
The evolution of consumer behavior now beckons the question for vendors to answer: “how do we sell to someone who doesn’t come in the store?” Plus, tack on the fact that answers to consumer pricing questions are just a touchscreen swipe away, and the need to react faster is more important than ever before.
5. Leveraging people analytics
Companies are using data to drive behavior more these days, and will continue to do so in 2016. Software company Atlassian was tasked to place their wearable technology on a client’s workforce to track just how much the desks, rooms and tables were used in the company. The advantage? Using data to drive behavior. If data indicates that employee behavior is better expended in environment A (desks) rather than environment B (rooms), for example, then that little tidbit of knowledge can save them big bucks-as well as help leaders shape the right environment.
The term disruption often connotes negativity, as if the change associated with disruption is bad. It isn’t. It’s an opportunity-and opportunity that hinges on the messaging set forth by leadership.
What will you disrupt today?