Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

Digital Darwinism: Who’s Next?

This is the first part in a short series to introduce The End of Business as Usual

Change is inevitable, but it is rarely easy. Among the greatest difficulties associated with change is the ability to even recognize its need at a time when we can actually do something about it. Sometimes, when we finally realize that change is inevitable, the vision  or energy needed to push forward in a new direction is elusive. Or worse, when competitors recognize the need for change before us, we are by default pushed into a precarious position where our next steps become impulsive rather than strategic.

If you follow technology as avidly as I do, we can agree that the volume of emerging technology is both awe-inspiring and overwhelming. As new technology makes its way into into everyday life and workflow, certain devices, applications, and networks disrupt the norm and begin to impact behavior. It is this disruptive technology that over time, influences how people work, communicate, share, or make decisions. The question is at what point does emerging technology or new behavior become disruptive? And more importantly, what systems, processes, and protocol are in place that recognize disruption, assess opportunity, and facilitate the testing of new ideas? The time to answer these questions is now.

The reality is that we live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

Nothing today is too big to fail nor too small to succeed. Disruption not only faces every business, its effects are already spreading through customer markets and the channels that influence decisions and behavior. What works against you also works for you. And, it is what you do now that defines your ability to compete for today and the future. You already recognize the importance technology plays in your business. That’s why you’re here. But recognizing the difference between emerging and disruptive technology and measuring its impact on your business, customer relationships, and products is a necessary discipline to successfully evolve.

The means to see the need for change is only surpassed by our ability to distinguish opportunities for transformation and innovation. This isn’t just a matter of survival of the fittest, this is a long-term commitment to earning relevance by consistently seeing what others don’t, listening to the needs of customers, and delivering experiences that are worth repeating and sharing.

So, who’s next…to either succeed or fail as a result of disruption? Share your observations, predictions, and reasons in the comments below as they will drive the creation of the next video.

The End of Business as Usual will be available in the coming weeks. You can order now at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | 800CEOREAD.


62 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Digital Darwinism: Who’s Next?”

  1. Heather Caldwell says:

    Digital Darwinism is a perfect description of the social media world today.  The many changes of Facebook, the emergence of Google+, the decline of MySpace are all examples of the ever changing digital world.  Though many are slow to embrace change, without it we wouldn’t be where we were today.  There has been quite a bit of negative reaction to the latest round of changes to Facebook, but what if they had never changed the initial requirement of having to be a college student? It would not be what it is today and those very people wouldn’t be using it.  Companies have to be ready and willing to evolve in the digital age.

  2. Jim says:

    For all the overwhelming changes in tech and the internet, the bandwagoneering and – as you aptly call it – Digital Darwinism I’m amazed at how much the world is the same every day. There is so much inertia in the world and that inertia is already limiting growth and change digitally, in terms of how service is provided and how people behave. I find this comforting, btw. Things can only change so quickly. I’m amazed every morning that I still get stuck in traffic, people are still listening to the radio where I work, they still sit at desks… How much are you over-determining Darwinism (a very simplistic model, I think) and how well do we really understand how change and evolution work and where does inertia fit in to a description of our world? 

  3. Brian,

    A friend brought your article to my attention and I am glad she did. I have followed you before. Perhaps I should just subscribe. Question…Is Twitter an example of a Technology that was at one time emerging? Is it still evolving? And is it also Disruptive? Is Facebook both as well?

    • briansolis says:

      Great question! Yes, during the first year or two, it was definitely “emerging.” Over the last couple of years, it tipped and became disruptive to business (some businesses, not all businesses…at least not yet). p.s. and yes you should subscribe.

  4. arbitrage says:

    great article you have here. I agree that technology is rapidly growing each day and as well as business around it.

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