According to CNET, less than 1% of company executives were concerned about digital disruption in 2015. By the end of 2017, that number had jumped to 75%!
From retail, to banking, to manufacturing, to cab driving – one business model after another is being disrupted in the digital age.
How disruptive will this change really be? To understand our digital future, let’s take a look at another transformation not so long ago.
The year is 1840, and the world is industrializing. Everywhere, people are starting to flock to cities for promising new jobs.
The second largest city in the fast growing United States, and a port town, Baltimore, Maryland is poised for explosive growth. Chicago, by contrast, is a small frontier town with fewer than 5,000 citizens.
But growth brought problems to cities. Sanitary conditions were deplorable. Sickness and infant morality were out of control. Portions of cities smelled so disgusting that the wealthy steered clear of the “unwashed masses.”
In the face of this, in 1850 tiny little Chicago was the first city in the United States to make a major investment in a city-wide waste management system. Baltimore, by contrast, decided that updating their infrastructure was unnecessarily expensive.
In 1915 Baltimore was the last major city in the United States to invest in an up to date sewage system. By that time they had fallen to 20th place, and Chicago had replaced them as the second largest city in the United States. Another 100 years later, Chicago sits as third largest and Baltimore remains in the 20’s.
Baltimore took too long to get their plumbing right – and they pay the price to this day.
Early adopters of the right technology establish a lead that others can never catch up with. In the business world, you don’t just fall out of the top position – you go out of business.
So, ask yourself, what is your plumbing?
Our experience is that it is more than installing updated technology. It’s leveraging technology to create a culture that is more innovative. Organizations that are innovation power-houses, that create create customer and employee engagement, are disruption proof.
What is your plan for disruption-proofing your business?
Will you be a Baltimore, or a Chicago?
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