Disruption – A summary of this new phenomena.


The invention of electricity was only the trigger for the Second Industrial Revolution, how it was exploited was the revolution, the disruptor of its time. The triggers for the 4IR include Cyber Physical Systems,  AI, Robotics, 3D printing. How we exploit this technology will be the revolution that will create the disruption.

“The key is to embrace disruption and change early. Don’t react to it decades later. You can’t fight innovation” Ryan Kavanaugh 

The 4IR has instigated today’s business phenomena, which is disruption. We have disruptive innovation, disruptive technology, disruptive marketing which will all lead to disruptive employment which will generate a disruptive market, a market which is not operating in a regular and expected manner:

  • Disruptive technology – is where new technology displaces an established one, AI is in its infancy but look already how it has changed patterns of behaviour. How often has google answered your queries without you having to revert to methods previously used. The different ways of booking and finding holidays, and generally how we find answers to questions.
  • Disruptive innovation – is when innovation disrupts an existing market and helps create a new market, digital photography incorporated into the mobile phone disrupted the old photographic and film market. It took disruptive technology and used it in a disruptive innovative way.
  • Disruptive marketing – throw all the old rules out of the window and generate something which resonates with the consumer no matter how outrageous. The impact is that people are changing the habits of a life-time, it is making them feel liberated. It is perhaps a natural progression of disruptive technology which is making possible things that were previously unimaginable. Done well it can become part of our vocabulary. It resonates with customers and does not have to be prohibitively expensive. We have all experienced how supermarkets monitor what we buy and then personalise our discount tokens, how amazon analyse the books you buy and then recommend books they think you would enjoy. This is technology developing the “personal” touch, the whole world of marketing is changing.
  • Disruptive employment – For the 4IR think change and opportunities. The one thing that all research agrees on is that over the next few years the employment market is going to change radically and many jobs will be lost for good and whilst new different jobs will be created most believe in a net reduction of may be 5m over the next five years worldwide. The Governor of the Bank of England in December 2016 said the world is “in the midst of a technological revolution that is once again changing the nature of work” and quoted from Andy Haldane who believes 15 million British jobs could be automated over time and whilst new jobs will be created they will be very different from the ones they replace. There are two factors that trigger start-up businesses:
    • Redundancies
    • People seeing opportunities, gaps in the market, and/or employees who get frustrated by their employer not responding to the markets and customer demands but at the same time being driven by their employers to maintain old economic returns which are out of sync with the markets.
  • Disruptive markets – With such disruption to the employment market new competition will emerge and businesses will be challenged creating market disruption. Businesses that are the quickest to recognise change, are adaptable, adept and embrace change as part of their culture will become the new power houses; the old steady, safe, reliable and traditional will wither under the heat of the new competition. 45% of employment growth since 2008 has come from self-employment, it now represents 15.1% of all those working.

Put all the disruption in a pot and mix it together and you end up with mega disruption so think again if you think it will all pass you by. A lot of direct marketing is now getting quite personalised; people are getting more attuned and trusting of technology and in some situations AI might just be what people want.

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