Digital Darwinism is claiming businesses everywhere. As technology and society evolve, leaders face the need to adapt or die. Doing so stars with rethinking what it takes to compete for market share by competing for relevance. However, executives do not know what they do not or choose not to know. In my book, you either compete or relevance or you don’t.
While I was in Paris at Le Web (see interviews with Skully’s Marcus Weller and Andela’s Jeremy Johnson), I met with the Vivendi team to discuss the state and future of digital transformation.
Digital Darwinism is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Because of this, businesses not only have to compete for today but also for the unforeseeable future. Digital Darwinism is the phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt. There are many reasons for this of course. Every fabric of a company is strained due to internal and external influences. The challenge lies amongst the very leaders running the show today. Their mission and the processes and systems they support today may already be working against them.
Businesses today are met with unique challenges and opportunities that necessitate pause. For years, management models were developed to optimize the pursuit of business objectives. Processes were established and hierarchies, technologies and reporting systems supported them. Everything was business as usual until it wasn’t.
Nothing is permanent. As in life, things change. And so is true in the world of business. The models and practices that have been taught for generations are tested in a time when customer and employee behaviors and resulting expectations are evolving without official study, strategy and systematic transformation.
It’s everywhere. I live in Silicon Valley where many say that the terms disrupt and disruption have become buzzwords. Pundits believe that the word is losing its promise and impact through the acts and examples of entrepreneurs and businesses that misuse the word to describe intentions rather than associating it with a desired or natural effect.
In some of the startup meetings I attend for example, digital disruption is actually a stated business objective. Instead of “killing it” or “crushing it” many businesses are aiming now to disrupt it!
We are indeed witnessing what can be best described as the end of business as usual. With the closure or dwindling performance of businesses once regarded as too big to fail or with the rise of every new Occupy-like movement around the world, we are reminded of the grand chasm that exists between consumer values and the values of today’s businesses. What is becoming painfully obvious is that people everywhere are calling for change and they’re taking to the streets and also their smartphones, tablets, and popular social networks to demand attention.
Today’s leading companies are already becoming obsolete. Fortunately or unfortunately, they won’t know until it’s too late. In 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 was replaced. Irrelevance is only accelerating. It’s Digital Darwinism out here. #AdaptorDie!
Ignorance is bliss, until it’s not.
Technology…social, mobile, real-time, it’s changing the world. Customers are evolving into something new. They’re more connected, empowered, and demanding.
We live in an era of what I refer to as Digital Darwinism, a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt.
Over the years, I’ve studied how disruptive technology affects consumer behavior and decision-making. I’ve also researched how businesses react (or don’t) to these changes. What I’ve learned is that barring a few exceptional instances of complete ignorance, organizations are open to adaptation if there’s indeed a case made for it and a path outlined to safely and cost-effectively navigate change.
The digital landscape continues to undergo a significant shift that will have profound effects on business this year. The challenge is that hardly any business leaders noticed. That’s not their fault however. Even through the impact of technology on business and consumer behavior was widely reported, in depth reports on what to do next or how this will affect their business specifically were scant at best.
In an era of Digital Darwinism, no business is too big to fail or too small to succeed…this is your time.
Many follow, but very few lead.
Many compete to survive, but few compete for relevance.
Do we listen to our customers? Do we truly understand them?
Do we create experiences or do we simply react?
The future of business comes down to one word…change.
This is a new era that redefines everything.
An era of empowered consumers and employees.
Will we fall to natural selection or will we rise to lead the revolution.
This is our time to make business relevant.
Because people, after all, are everything.
Think of your favorite brand, and the first thing to come to mind is likely a logo, such as the Coca-Cola scripting, a tag-line, such as Nike’s “Just do it,” or a jingle – remember the Oscar Meyer Wiener song? These may be the aspects of a brand you remember, but they are no longer the most important aspects of branding today. Identity, persona, essence and promise, are the new kings and queens of the branding kingdom, thanks to technology and the deeper connections it opens up between brands and consumers.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.