Hyper-awareness of the digital landscape, the disruptive technologies and associated societal changes reshaping your industry, is a key trait of a successful leader of change for the digital era.
Module 1 encourages you to evaluate the digital landscape of your industry, or industry of your own choice. The key question addressed is:
"To what extent will your industry, your organisation, be disrupted?”
As argued in the Programme Introduction, the changes brought about the Internet over the last 30 years have been nothing compared to what is coming. We have entered a new, more revolutionary phase in the development of digital technology; a period characterised by turbulent digital change and digital disruption.
Over the next few years, the convergence of a broad range of disruptive technologies, and associated societal changes, will reshape industries, markets and the public sector faster than at any time in history.
Please see Figure 1.1 below for a suggested list of disruptive technologies. There may be other technologies relevant to your own industry.
Figure 1.1: The Digital Disruption Algorithm
Connectivity + Mobile + Social Media + The Cloud and Edge + Big Data/Predictive Analytics + Algorithms + Internet of Things + Industry 4.0 + Digital Twins + Digital Workplaces + Artificial Intelligence + Robots + Automation + Cognitive Computing + 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) + Wearables + Augmented & Virtual Reality + Autonomous Vehicles + Drones + The Blockchain + Generation C = The End of Business as Usual
The question is no longer whether your industry, your organisation will be affected. The only pertinent questions now are the ‘size of the bang’ (how big the impact will be) and the ‘length of the fuse’ (the time it will take for your industry, your organisation to be disrupted).
On their own, the technologies listed above would be disruptive enough. The fact that they are converging at the same time creates the conditions for a perfect storm.
With the inevitable movement of industries toward a ‘digital vortex’, disruption has become the ‘new normal’ – see the Digital Vortex.
Figure 1.2: The Digital VortexSource: The Digital Vortex in 2017: It’s not a question of “when”
The Digital Landscape
The starting point in developing an appropriate response to the challenges outlined above is to undertake a Digital Landscape Analysis evaluating the current and future state of digital disruption in your industry, the key technologies involved, emerging opportunities & threats and likely impact on your own organisation.
The blog post below outlines five key issues to be covered in undertaking a Digital Landscape Analysis.
Most of the issues listed will be discussed in more detail as we work through the various modules of this programme. For the moment, Module 1 is aimed at enhancing your understanding of the wide range of digital technologies threatening to disrupt business as we know it. How will the convergence of these technologies impact on your industry, your organisation?
Questions 2 to 5 of the Interactive Polling Tool will give you a good overview of the wide range of issues to be considered here. You can access these by going to www.menti.com using the code number 337826 to login.
To what extent is your industry, your organisation, under threat of being disrupted? (Please see note below for explanation of the terms used in this question e.g. short fuse, big bang etc).
Which of the following technologies and societal changes have/are/or will impact on your industry?
Broadband/Mobile Connectivity; Social Media; The Cloud and Edge; Big Data & Analytics; Internet of Things/Industry 4.0; Digital Workplaces; Artificial intelligence, Automation, Robots; 3D Printing (additive manufacturing); Wearables; Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR); Autonomous Vehicles/Drones; The Blockchain; Gen C (the constantly connected customer/the constantly connected employee)
To what extent is digital transformation a priority for your organisation?
Employment and leadership implications - to what extent do you disagree/agree with the following statements?
Digital disruption will have a major impact on future employment, labour markets and skills in our industry.
Automation will lead to large scale job losses in our industry.
Our industry is facing a digital recruitment/skills crisis.
Our education system is NOT 'fit-for-purpose' in a digital world.
We lack digital leadership in our industry/organisation.
Our senior executive team 'get digital'.
Digital is strongly represented on our main Board of Directors.
Note: The options shown in Question 2 have been taken from a model developed by Deloitte Australia in a paper entitled Short Fuse: Big Bang which presents a useful framework for evaluating the extent to which different industries will be disrupted by digital technology (the ‘bang’) and the time period over which these disruptions would start to have a real impact (the ‘fuse’).
Four broad industry categories were identified:
Short fuse, big bang: Industries with less than three years to adapt and transform themselves or face watching up to 50% of their business perish.
Short fuse, small bang: Industries with a lot less to lose in the way of digital disruption, but there is still a limited window in which they can act to mitigate potential damage.
Long fuse, big bang: Industries that will experience profound change over time, losing a lot if they don’t metamorphosis.
Long fuse, small bang: Industries with the least potential for digital disruption.
It is important to recognise that the original Deloitte paper was published in 2012, based on the Australian market. Clearly, the pace of digital change has accelerated significantly since then with the actual positioning of the various industries shown in the diagram below being quite different from a 2019 perspective. It is the model that is important; please ignore the actual positioning of different industries. Where does your industry, your organisation sit on this spectrum?
Figure 1.3 Short Fuse/Big Bang
Source: Deloitte, 2012
Module 1: Background Reading
The links below provide useful background reading for Module 1.
Models and Frameworks
Future Digital Trends
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
The Way Things Used to Be
Our own research for the Federation of Small Business in Scotland was one of the first reports highlighting the opportunities and threats presented by digital disruption. Published in 2015, the report has become dated very quickly but it still provides a useful overview of many of the issues examined in this elective class – Digital Disruption and Small Business in Scotland.
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