Tag: future

12 signs your business model is broken

The death of a business is not like a car crash and as sudden as many tend to presume, but disasters do happen whether you are prepared for them or not.

History shows us that the warning signs for an industry or business are often present 1 – 3 years before disaster strikes. The savvy entrepreneur or business owner pays attention to these kinds of warning signs and addresses them by taking strategic measures to shift course, but in many instances these signals are not paid attention to, and worst of all, ignored entirely.

Kodak is a well cited example whereby the process of digitization, and the lack of attention to warning signs within their industry, eventually put them out of business.

The Impact of Digitization

Digitization is the process of taking something analog and converting it into a digital form. It is often referred to as the ‘uberization of business’.

When something becomes digitized, it enters a period of deceptive growth. For example, when Kodak invented the technology for the digital camera it slowly evolved from 0.2 megapixels to 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 megapixels, but it was deceptive because it all looked like zeros. When it finally it became truly disruptive as a technology, it exploded as a marketplace and eventually, it put them out of business.

A Consistent Story

In consulting with my clients, the story is typically the same. They have been selling the same product to the same customer for years, and largely driven by a maturing digitally enabled economy; business models that used be competitive are slowly, but surely, becoming irrelevant.

This manifest into signals or warning signs like consistent declining revenues, sudden, significant loss of market share and many other attributes of a dying business.

The Financial Services Headache

While all businesses should look to adopt an agile philosophy, there are many that simply are not designed to be agile.

Take the financial services industry for example, for the last 100 years of so, banks have largely existed to record the movement of money – essentially the custodians of trust between a buyer and seller. However, exponential technology is beginning to change this for the first time in a century, and it’s causing a significant amount of upheaval in the financial services industry.

From Tally Up to Cryptocurrencies

Imagine going to the local store in Holland, in the mid sixteenth century and not having enough cash to pay for the pig you wanted to roast for dinner. You might have to borrow some money and, to record your debt, the person making the loan would use a tally stick like this one. The stick was notched in the presence of both the lender and the borrower and then split in two, so that each person retained half. You could only prove who owed who money by bringing the two different sticks together; hence the term “tally up”.

Then in 1821, the gold was introduced and we traded goods and services using gold as a physical bearer instrument. But then during the great depression in 1933, to deter people from cashing in deposits and depleting the gold supply, President Franklin D. Roosevelt cut the dollar’s ties with gold, allowing the government to pump money into the economy and lower interest rates.

Most economists now agree 90 percent of the reason why the U.S. got out of the Great Depression was the break with gold. Ever since then, banks have centralized control of the financial system using a fiat money system, meaning the dollar’s value is not linked to any specific asset.

But today, we are seeing the immergence of crypto instruments – an ingenious game changer that has the potential make the banking industry question some of the basic assumptions of its current banking model and imagine a new system of banking – crypto banking.

Disruptive Technologies

The disruptive nature of exponential technologies like the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, cannot be overstated enough. Research indicates, that there are over 700 cryptocurrencies already in market and with central banks from around the world expressing an openness to blockchain; it is only a matter of time before Central Bank issued Cryptocurrencies (CBCC’s) are issued.

This would drive the movement of equity and debt based financial instruments to the blockchain unlocking the means to significantly reduce fraud and improve organizational efficiencies for banks.

A New Trust Protocol

Blockchain as a technology was created as recently as 2009, but it is already putting a linear banking industry onto an exponential curve of disruption.

Thanks to the blockchain, we now have an opportunity to rewrite the economic power grid and the old order of things by essentially redistributing trust – the foundation of any transaction – from a centralized institution and into the hands of financially distributed democracy.

No Industry Is Immune

While it is easy to use the financial services industry as the poster child of an industry that is being threatened by disruptive technologies, the fact of the matter is that no industry or business is immune. For another example, see my opinion piece on how the advertising industry is being disrupted here.

So, here are three questions that will help you understand how to future pace the impact of disruptive technologies:

What are the warning signs that will spell disaster in your industry or business?
The warning signs of disaster are always present in an industry or business. Take the retail industry for example. Amazon is disrupting the way that goods and services are bought using voice.

By offering products at a cheaper price when ordered through Alexa, Amazon is fundamentally changing the consumer journey and the way that goods and services are bought. It also indicates the possible death of the brand we know it and democratizes the retail space in a way that we haven’t seen before.

What will put you out of business?
This question is a difficult one to answer for most business owners, but these days we are living in an incredibly disruptive period so, it’s important to ask the question.

A simple way to get some answers is to ask: “What if?” For example, “what if the consumer journey changed completely?” Or, “what if a cheaper more agile competitor entered your market?”

What is the solution to question #2?
Once you have identified possible answers to what could put you out business, how would you respond to such a threat?

Conclusion

Market leadership is proving to be increasingly illusive. Advances in technology, the threat of new entrants and a digitally connected business environment is making it increasingly harder for companies to remain relevant.

Being clear about possible warning signs of disaster in your industry is the starting point, but careful scenario planning for new eventualities and the ability to adopt a new organization strategy in an agile fashion, will be critical component of the successful enterprise of tomorrow.

By Matt Brown, CEO of Digital Kungfu

The changing workplace

Innovation hubs, separate and relaxed spaces designed for creativity and collaboration, are quickly growing in popularity in South Africa as a way to drive innovation in a relaxed “feel at home” atmosphere.

“Workplaces are changing,” says Richard Andrews, MD of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“Every leading organisation knows that it needs to innovate to stay ahead. According to a McKinsey survey, 33% of global business leaders rank ‘innovation of new products and services’ as their company’s top focus.”
“But innovation is hard. How do you make ideas grow especially when companies become more globally integrated as business becomes national or global?

“One of the best ways it to make is easy for people to get together in a casual environment. Research shows that 70% of ideas come from when people collaborate.”

He notes that Innovation Hubs create a culture of innovation by supporting creative collaboration, project teams and individuals.

Inspiration Office has recently helped create Innovations Hubs in South Africa for Google, E&Y, General Electric, Accenture and Standard Bank to name just a few. General Electric’s R500m Innovation Hub in Johannesburg is the first of its kind in Africa and is similar to its other hubs around the world.

Magnus Taljaard, head of Digital Customer Solutions at Standard Bank Group, says about the creation of its hub: “We wanted to create a highly collaborative and engaging environment where our digital product teams can thrive and create solutions our customers love.”

Andrews notes that businesses need spaces that support both collaboration at a distance and face-to-face and that also promote privacy as individuals need to do their best thinking. Hubs when not in use by groups, also provide private places to work.

He notes that during the last few years, work has become dramatically more intense. Business tasks today are more varied and more challenging, and in some countries workers are increasingly mobile.

“Employees in every organisation are working longer and harder, and they need a physical environment that not only supports them, but also re-energizes and inspires them.

“Some organisations embrace the idea of employees working in a coffee shop or other third place for a variety of reasons. Employees may need places where they can relax or work undisturbed. Already 31 percent of full-time employees in the United States do most of their work away from their employers’ locations. South Africa is following the same trends.”

Andrews says millennial workers are particularly keen on mobile working but need to have a place where they meet colleagues to catch up and think together.

He also pointed out that the idea of having an opportunity to move during the day is important.

“People hate the idea of being stuck at their desks all day.”

Businesses increasingly see the need to offer employees a place where they can take a break from their usual workspace, choose from spaces ranging from individual to large group settings, and maintain close connections with colleagues and the organisation.

“It resets your mind and gets you reengaged. Having spaces that are appropriately designed for the activity that’s going on makes that activity much more productive. What we’ve installed for clients tend to cater for a ‘palette of postures’ so people can sit or lounge in a way that’s most comfy for them. We also tend to use bright, colours and funky furniture not typically found in the more formal offices spaces.”
Innovation Hubs also help to manage commercial property costs by having fewer people in the office if companies allow remote working.

Characteristics of Innovation Hubs

Technology Integration
More than anything, highly effective hubs that accommodate real work must provide great technology. Users come for refreshment and with the expectation that the place will provide what they need for effective performance, so technology needs to be immediately available and convenient.

Design Attributes
Design elements create the ambience of a corporate hub and influence worker reaction. Finishes, lighting, music, scent, inspiring artifacts, artwork—these all work together to attract users by creating a sense of welcome. They also tell users how to behave in a space.

Hosting Characteristics
Hosting is ultimately about making employees feel connected to the organisation and to each other. The way employees are welcomed and supported lets them know they are valued and demonstrates that the organisation recognises the challenges of work and life integration.

Where should companies locate an Innovation Hub?
The corporate cafeteria is an obvious place where a company can create a corporate third place and better leverage under- utilised space. It isn’t the only answer, though. A company might need more locations to hold meetings, for example.

Andrews notes that some project groups often go off-site to hotels.

The great and the good from the printing world are gearing up to see what the future holds for the industry at the drupa exhibition in Germany. The event, which happens every four years, is coming to Messe Düsseldorf from 31 May to 10 June 10 – the most significant dates in the diaries of everyone in the sector.

The 2012 show attracted 314 500 experts from more than 130 countries – 79% of which were people who had a key part to play in their companies’ investment decisions. So what can we expect to see at the upcoming 2016 drupa and what will it mean for the future of the printing industry?

More from Landa?

Back in 2012, Benny Landa wowed drupa by unveiling his Nanotechnology printer. Back then, pundits expected the Nanotechnology printer to finally end the ‘digital vs. offset printing press debate’. Since then much work has gone into perfecting the technology for the commercial market. In a tantalizing sign that it’ll be taking big news over to Germany, Landa has doubled the floor space it is taking at the 2016 event.

3D printing

Since the last drupa, 3D printing has been a hot topic in and out of the printing industry. Big brands like Ricoh, Xerox, HP, Mimaki, Leapfrog, TU Chemnitz and Roland – along with newcomers Stratasys and Massivit 3D Printing – will be showing off their innovations in this field. Drupa director Sabine Geldermann said she expects a revolution in the mechanical engineering, spare parts, and design and packaging solutions world.

Going green

With governments across the globe signing up to cut their emissions at Paris last year, businesses must do all they can to pick up the baton. It’ll be no surprise, therefore, if green printing would set to be high on the agenda at drupa 2016. The latest thinking on energy efficiency, sustainable production methods, eco-labelling and clean technology are all expected to be presented.

Intersectional thinking

Part of the joy of a show like this is that it brings together the best minds in the industry, with thought leaders giving their insight. On May 31, bestselling author Frans Johansson (of The Medici Effect) will base his talk on ‘Intersectional Thinking’. The talk will address the question: “What happens when technological revolutions meet an industry that has been around for a millennium?”. Essentially this involves considering the practical impact of the last technological innovations and thinking, for example, what 3D, Nanotechnology and green printing could mean for individual industries and sectors. Johansson will also give further thought to this at a second keynote speech on June 2.

Thought leaders

Other keynote speakers at this year’s drupa will be Silas Amos, on June 6, and Shane Wall, on June 8. Amos has worked as a designer and strategic partner for several firms in the FMCG industry, including AB InBev, Bacardi, Diageo, Heinz, Mars and Unilever, while Wall is Chief Technology Officer at HP and Global Head of HP Labs.

By Benjamin Campbell for www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top