Using Disruptive Technology to Boost Your Business
What is disruptive technology?
Disruptive technology refers to a new advanced technology that changes the way consumers, industries, or businesses operate, potentially replacing and transforming age-old practices.
Disruptive technologies often come from start-ups, allowing them to establish themselves as thought leaders in new markets or gain a significant foothold in existing industries.
Examples of disruptive technologies
Recent disruptive technologies include 3D printing, wearable tech, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Additive printing, more commonly known as 3D printing, allows three-dimensional objects to be printed from digital data. It is used across many industries, such as the automotive, manufacturing, aviation and medical industries. 3D printing is versatile with a relatively low price point. It can shorten the turnaround time in prototype production and offers the ability to produce prototypes without creating expensive dies and moulds. 3D printing also offers greater customisation and printing is on an as-needed basis, minimising the need to hold excess stock.
Wearable tech is a smart device that can be worn on one’s person, such as watches and glasses. It is often equipped with sensors that can connect to the Internet and mobile applications to exchange data. Wearable tech offer offers continuous real-time data capture such as heart rate, calories burnt or the number of steps taken in a day. These data can provide an insight into a person’s overall health.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is used in many areas, including the detection of fraudulent activities, spam filtering in emails, and video games. AI increases the efficacy of business operations and improves the lives of individuals. It is used in systems such as chatbots for web support or virtual assistants like Google Home or Apple Siri.
Developed to disrupt the banking industry, blockchain uses a decentralised network as a ledger that distributes across numerous devices. Its three key attributes are decentralisation, transparency, and security. These aim to increase the security of financial transactions while minimising hefty bank charges. Blockchain also facilitates speedy transactions and is free from the restrictions of a single authority.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to the expansive network of devices connected to the Internet. It helps to reduce the gap between digital and physical spheres. IoT facilitates new relationships, enables data exchange and is potentially an integral part of the supply chain process. It can be used for a variety of purposes such as servicing equipment and monitoring productivity and efficiency.
What are the advantages of disruptive technology?
Disruptive technologies can “impact growth, employment, and inequality by creating new markets and business practices, needs for new product infrastructure, and different labour skills.”1 They are often driven by people’s needs and usually offer convenience. These new technologies also allow people to develop new habits that improve their quality of life.
To succeed in the constantly evolving environment, businesses must adapt rapidly to new opportunities and challenges to stay relevant. Disruptive technologies present opportunities for business growth and to gain a competitive edge.
**Other advantages include: **
reducing overheads and costs;
promoting greater efficiency through streamlined core processes;
encouraging better product and services development;
enhancing the customer experience; and
driving better decision-making.
How to harness disruptive technology?
Businesses must first identify the technologies with the most significant potential to drive their competitive advantage. It is important to understand the technology well enough to determine whether it suits their needs and examine how the new technology will bring ease, simplicity, and certainty to the market they are operating in.
Establishing a supportive culture and shifting mindsets are key to ensuring the successful adoption of disruptive technologies in a fast-paced and disruptive business environment. Hence, agility is important. Businesses need to be able to move quickly, decisively, and effectively to anticipate, initiate and take advantage of change while remaining robust enough to absorb any setbacks. A culture of testing and learning new technologies should also be nurtured to keep up with constant technological advances.
Before adopting a disruptive technology, businesses must prepare their employees to embrace the changes that may disrupt their routines and push them beyond their comfort zones. To manage the transition, businesses need to engage their employees effectively by opening a dialogue with them, listening to their feedback, and providing the necessary training they may require.
Anderson, Cindy W. “How Project Managers Can Harness the Power of Disruptive Technologies.” European CEO. Published 2 January 2019, https://www.europeanceo.com/business-and-management/how-project-managers-can-harness-the-power-of-disruptive-technologies/
Ashcroft, Sean. “Top 10 Most Disruptive Technologies Across Business in 2022.” Technology. Published 11 March 2022, https://technologymagazine.com/digital-transformation/top-10-most-disruptive-technologies-across-business-in-2022
Cook, Chris and Billings, Vincent. “6 Ways to Introduce Disruptive Technology into Your Growth Business.” Growth Business. Published 5 August 2019, https://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/6-ways-to-introduce-disruptive-technology-into-your-growth-business-2556765/
Corporate Finance Institute, “Disruptive Technology.” Updated 14 January 2022, https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/disruptive-technology/
Deloitte. “Disruptive and Sustaining Innovation.” Accessed 13 September 2022, https://www2.deloitte.com/il/en/pages/innovation/article/disruptive_vs_sustaining.html
Grynol, Benjamin. ”Disruptive Manufacturing: The Effects of 3D Printing.” Deloitte. Accessed 13 September 2022, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/Documents/insights-and-issues/ca-en-insights-issues-disruptive-manufacturing.pdf
Project Management Institute. “Maximizing the Benefits of Disruptive Technologies on Projects.” Published 2018, https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/maximize-benefits-disruptive-technologies-projects.pdf
Thunderbird School of Global Management and Arizona State University. “Disruptive Innovation and the Business Models That Make Them Successful.”Accessed 19 September 2022, https://thunderbird.asu.edu/thought-leadership/insights/disruptive-innovation-and-business-models-make-them-successful