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Disruption: Where to Look for Signals of Future Market Change


Disruption: Where to Look for Signals of Future Market Change

Costly Strategic Errors and Mistakes

Did you know that misinterpretation of signals of change and disruption is the number one error generating condition for top managers? The most critical condition causing failures is our unfamiliarity with a situation that is potentially important, but novel or only infrequently occurring. Another primer for errors is a really low signal to noise ratio. Such a ratio makes it very difficult to pinpoint real threats and opportunities within the barrage of information that hits us each and every day.  I heard somewhere that a manager sees more variety in information before lunch, than a medieval man in his entire lifetime. So here’s some help: a list of sources where the signal to noise ratio is high, and some pointers for interpretation.

Where to Look for Signals of Disruption

  • Within the firm, new brooms and brains provide managers with real-time information about new behaviors, needs and wants from the outside world. Most importantly, the way that co-workers react to that information is telling about the real agility of your firm.
  • The fountain of youth can also be tapped by involving younger family members, high potentials, start-ups and trend watchers investigating youth culture. In this area, even though you firm may not cater to this audience, you will find paradigm shifts. Such as the actual place and manners that technology is used and to what end (everywhere, all devices and channels, for rapid satisfaction of needs as power, affiliation, autonomy, and wealth). And it will tell you how to communicate your messages: it is the tone that makes the music and we’ll have to whistle the future’s tunes.
  • The regular suspects as trade shows and magazines, conferences, and best practices are not that informative when we’re searching for future disruption. However, here’s the best place to informally discuss your hunches and categorize signals into urgency levels.
  • Perhaps one of the most concrete sources are similar firms in other regions, trends and prototypes from other industries, and new research from universities. It’s not the literal developments that are important, but the process that developments follow. For instance, in manufacturing lot’s of successful firms emerged. Their particular product ranged from yachts to semi conductors. That variety of products is not relevant. But their process: thinking in affordable, easy to produce and innovate components may very well the eye opener that you need to bring your firm into the future.

The Rise of Disruption Needs a Response

The likelihood that markets will be disturbed rises partly due to the mounting numbers of innovations that will hit the markets. Paired with the snowballing rate of connectivity, disruption in earlier contained regions, markets, or industries will spread wider than ever. At the micro level of each firm, a good deal of money and security is at stake when markets collapse. Firms need to learn to become agile and adaptable. Earlier detection of possible disturbance, when strong signals are still weak, gains reaction time and leaves firms with a choice between profiting from or protecting against change!

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