Whatever you think you know, your business won’t be here in 5 years.

Here’s the thing: you’re already out of the plane, so are all of your competitors and none of you have a parachute. If you’re going to survive, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to do something radical...

Whatever you think you know, your business won’t be here in 5 years.

 

If you think that your business - and the way in which you conduct business - will be recognisable in five years time then I’m afraid you’re kidding yourself.

Typically analysts capture the forthcoming changes under the following five headings. However there’s something more fundamental that we all need to get our heads around first and that is “the acceleration of the rate of change”. 

Remember your GCSE Physics? When you jump out of a plane you don’t just fall; you accelerate. You start to fall at 10 metres per second but your speed increases, by another “10 meters per second” - every second. So in 10 seconds you’re falling at 100 metres per second and so it continues. 

Here’s the thing: you’re already out of the plane, so are all of your competitors and none of you have a parachute. If you’re going to survive, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to do something radical... You’re going to need to learn how to fly.

If you’re going to survive, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to do something radical... You’re going to need to learn how to fly.

Digital Disruption

You must embrace openness, connectedness, transparency and efficiency.

At its most basic you have to consider that every corner of your business needs to be founded on digital principals; openness, connectedness, transparency and efficiency.

In practice, this starts by taking manual processes and automating them. Not wholly and without human intervention - that comes later - but taking the labour, repetitiveness and human error out of the process.

As your business begins this first stage of transformation another significant thing begins to happen and that is the breakdown of the silos that exist in your business; between marketing, product development, delivery, logistics, sales, finance etc. Just this change in connectedness that you begin to achieve will make your business unrecognisable.

Deep Blue Sky exists to help organisations amplify their revenues in the digital economy.

Ways of Working

You are no longer choosing your staff - they are choosing you.

What defines your business? What is its biggest, most expensive, most important part? Usually it’s your people and they too are about to change beyond recognition.

For one thing their roles are about to change dramatically. In order to stay competitive we already know that you will need to digitise many of your laborious, repetitive tasks. As the work environment changes some of your team will flourish; revelling in the opportunity to use new technology creatively, leveraging the changes and driving your business forward.

Some - those who lack creativity - will founder and ultimately become redundant.

As these changes take hold the whole pattern for recruiting, choosing and employing people will also change because the availability of people who have the cognitive and creative capacity to leverage your new digital infrastructure is far lower than you realise.  

You will no longer be choosing your staff - they will be choosing you. If you don’t believe me look at our industry where this is already the case and in reality, has been for years.  

These new staff have different preconceptions of how they wish to work and since they’re in demand they call the shots; flexible hours, shorter hours and far greater expectations of the environment in which they work.

You need to be asking yourself if your business a more attractive place to work than every other business nearby? And do you even know how to interview someone for their creativity? If you can’t answer these questions confidently then you are staring at a precipitous skills shortage that in an of itself may destroy your business.

Customer Centricity

You are no longer in control.

In the same way that your new staff will start to define your business from the inside your customers are already redefining your business from the outside in. You are no longer in control.

If you’re a B2C organisation then this change is already starting to happen. The success of your brand is already profoundly pinned to your organisation's ability to conduct itself socially, to communicate effectively and to respond to the demands of your customer. If you can’t meet the high expectations of your increasingly fickle audience they will quickly move their loyalties to someone who can.

If you’re a B2B organisation then these changes are not far behind. Businesses too are becoming more demanding of the mechanisms by which you communicate and your levels of interoperability, transparency and accountability. To your business customers you are only ever part of a chain and if you can’t keep up then you will quickly be replaced by an organisation that is more dynamic, can better integrate and can serve their rapidly changing needs. And if you don’t think you see this happening in your ecosystem then perhaps you need to consider how long your customers are going to be around for.

Dynamic Process Change

It is the machine’s ability to make mistakes that gives it its power and potential.

To keep up with the changing ways of working - with your team and with your customers - your organisation will begin to develop a dynamic model for process change.

Every successful organisation runs on a clear set of processes. Longevity in that success will increasingly come from an organisation’s ability to constantly modify and improve their processes.

Traditionally, process improvement often comes in iterations. To keep up with the rate of change your organisation will have to come to terms with the parallelisation of process iteration. That is; running many alternative processes simultaneously and autonomously with full acceptance that these experiments will succeed, fail, merge and fork continuously. In any self-learning system, from a nest of ants to a modern AI, it is the machine’s ability to make mistakes that gives it its power and potential.  

As your team dynamic changes, as digital transformation breaks down the silos in your organisation, as your customers demands increase and diverge, you organisation must embrace experimentation and mistake-making and it must have the infrastructure to learn and remember. In a world of rapid change it’s possibly this last part that is hardest for your organisation - as it is with AI - the ability to remember which of the myriad of experiments did or didn’t work and under what circumstances. 

Neither AI, nor robotics are proprietary, they are not expensive and they are not inaccessible. 

AI and Robotics

The glue that will come to hold your new, dynamic organisation together.

We’re often confronted with customers who believe that the rise of AI and robotics is still a long way off. It’s not.

AI is already in your phone and in almost every computer game your children play. When you combine robotics with AI it is already in the way your shopping is packed and delivered and in the way many cars already drive themselves past you on the motorway.  

Neither AI, nor robotics are proprietary, they are not expensive and they are not inaccessible. There are dozens of great robotics prototyping kits and AI servers can be built quickly and cheaply with commodity NVIDIA GPUs. Their applications are limited only by your organisation’s imagination and creativity.

So, will your business be here in 5 years?

If you want help learning to fly, just get in touch.

I’ve left AI and robotics till last intentionally. As you’ve now read, as far out of your reach as they may seem today they are only the natural continuation of the other changes I’ve outlined.

  1. As you strive for competitiveness and efficiency you must start to digitise your processes.
  2. This will change the type of people you need, leading you to need more “creative people” and fewer unimaginative “workers”. To attract those highly in-demand, sector agnostic people you will need to redefine your working practices.
  3. While that is happening to you, it’s happening everywhere else too - which means whether your B2B or B2C the demands of your customers will accelerate your need for change.
  4. To accommodate the acceleration of change you will parallelise process change in integrated teams across departments.
  5. Finally you will come to realise that you simply can’t manage the dynamism you’ve created and you will begin to use machine learning and AI to make sense of and learn from the multitude of experiments your organisation is running in every facet of its way it working and way of delivering.

Remember - you are already out of the plane. If you want help learning to fly, just get in touch.

If you need help learning to fly...

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