Embrace disruption and welcome transformation
"Businesses used to suffer from FOMO
(Fear of Missing Out). Today they suffer from COMO (Certainty of
These are the words Sue Unerman (our Chief Transformation Officer)
has used previously to highlight a real problem for organisations
today - that there is so much social and technological change going
on around us, that it's impossible to keep up to date with every
new development. And this idea of COMO was at the heart of an event
I co-hosted at London Tech Week.
From AI and big data, to an
openness to fail and an agile workplace culture, transformation
comes from embracing the latest technologies, not ignoring them.
Sir Martin Sorrell, who opened proceedings, said that technological
change is inevitable, but our responses to it aren't.
Change is good.
The Fearsome Five
didn't fear the future
Even the biggest companies
didn't get to where they were by staying the same.
The "Fearsome Five", the
five most valuable brands in the world according to BrandZ: Google,
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, all have one thing in
common. They are technology companies with a vision, open to
failing fast in favour of a longer-term vision.
Microsoft wasn't always seen
favourably though. They had to rediscover their mojo after a shaky
2000s, which saw the company struggle to replicate the popularity
of Windows XP.
Google are where they are
now because they were prepared to experiment - yes, the Google+
didn't quite work out and Google Glass came a few years too early,
but they were still prepared to push the envelope. Facebook have
now completely shifted their focus to video content, because they
saw an opportunity in shifting consumer behaviour. Is it any
coincidence that these two brands now own made up 89% of all
digital advertising growth last year?
Transformative trends -
the key players
These tech giants have also embraced some of the latest technology
innovations and trends, remaining the disruptor rather than the
We heard from Chris Taylor, CIO of the Daily Telegraph, on tech
trends and the importance of cloud computing in a business: "You
should have a cloud-first strategy… cloud is the foundation of all
technology in business. Big data and Virtual Reality would be
nothing with cloud computing."
And it is this big data, certainly, that allows big tech companies
to greater analyse the behaviour of its customers, consumers or
users and stay one step ahead of the curve.
Artificial Intelligence is also certainly one of the more
interesting disruptors of our time - you only need to take a look
at Amazon Alexa and Google Home to know that AI is quickly becoming
mainstream and is an idea that's here to stay.
Agility from the top
Keeping up with the latest technologies and developments, while
reflecting and predicting the shifting patterns of consumers,
ensures a healthy, growing company.
Now, new tech entries into BrandZ's top 100 valuable brands in the
world list include YouTube, Salesforce, Netflix and Snapchat. They
might not be challenging the "Fearsome Five" anytime soon, but
they've been agile and moved with the times, making huge gains in
And this sense of agility needs to be reflected within your work
culture for everyone, not just the c-suite. There's no set of rules
on culture and it doesn't happen overnight - there's no 'culture
manifesto' for every company! It grows in a business over
It was the Dalai Lama, after all, who said change comes from
There's no secret formula
for making your business completely disruption-proof, but a failure
to listen, to think, to act and to react could be the difference
between a company that grows and a company that doesn't.
Disruption is a healthy
thing. It challenges the status quo and challenges businesses to
think twice and think ahead. But you don't want to see your
business model destroyed by your myopia in the face of unexpected
Don't fear what's out there
- make that change!