If you’re like me you probably spend quite a lot of your time not simply running a business, but finding new ways to grow and in developing new products and partnerships. I spend a lot of time working with business owners to help them use new delivery channels more effectively, helping them find new markets through design and transparent technology.
I’ve written before on how major companies like Amazon and Apple use digital disruption and incisive thinking to create new territories where none existed before and develop new markets that their technology made available to them where others feared to tread.
So what does this mean for you and me? I’ve long stopped being a traditional designer/creative director who designs projects for others and goes away again. Brandlogik operates as a technology-driven virtual agency. That not only works for our clients but also develops and builds our own customer-facing projects with new spin-off brands and services.
You can’t predict the future for your business, but start with the next possible thing your customer needs and let your future find you.
In the same way that Google revolutionized the advertising industry with Google AdSense, a new breed of design agencies are changing how they work and are finding new ways of doing business powered by technology. There’s a lot in this digitally disruptive approach for you to apply to your own business, no matter where you are, or what markets you operate in.
It helps to start with an attitude where you are open to new thinking and this is not as easy as it sounds if your business has lots of stakeholders who may justifiably have cautious viewpoints. But you do need a different mindset if you want to be part of the new business evolution. You have to be ready to keep asking questions such as who are my customers, what do they need now that I can offer them that I’m not already, and what are they likely to need in the future that I can start giving them now?
If you want to see this evolution in action have a look at jawbone.com – a company that started out making premium Bluetooth headsets, then developed their range into mobile audio devices and have now entered the health and lifestyle market with an integrated wristband and app system called UP. ‘What Jawbone does – and what you need to do – is to innovate the adjacent possible.’ (See Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation by James McQuivey).
For Jawbone and other creative brands, business really is an evolutionary process: ‘today birds can fly and (humans) can see because nature invented the adjacent possible.’ (Digital Disruption as above, page 76).
This means that we cannot predict the future for our business or our product, but ‘we start with the next possible thing our customer needs and let the future find us.’
The idea of letting the future find you may sound a little passive, a little laid back maybe, but it needs a positive and creative attitude and the constant questioning of what your customer wants, not just now but in the future, to really be successful. Good design, incisive thinking and an understanding of how to use transparent and nearly free technologies can help you change your market.
Many companies are finding that the juiciest areas of innovation and growth for their business are at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. Tesco and Converse for example are finding new and disruptive business models through merging their traditional offerings with new information technology capabilities to improve the customer experience.
Is your business and your brand ready for the future? You may find it easier to let your future find you if you have someone who has been through the digital disruption process to help take you though your next steps.