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Many European companies didn’t have contingency plans if Britain decided to exit the EU, and now are playing catch-up. They shouldn’t have been caught off guard.
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How much of a threat does digital disruption present to your business? A short online questionnaire from Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner, both of MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research, helps assess digital risk. “Although sweeping technology-enabled change often takes longer than we expect, history shows that the impact of such change can be greater than we ever imagined,” they write. “Think steam engines, cars, airplanes, TVs, telephones and, most recently, mobile phones and e-books.”
Executives need the ability to quickly spot both new opportunities and hidden risks. Asking the right questions can broaden perspective and shake up existing assumptions. For instance, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, has a noted ability to spot unmet market needs. Musk has said that his forward-thinking style, exemplified in his vision of commercializing electric vehicles for the mass market, comes from “just trying really hard — the first order of business is to try. You must try until your brain hurts.”
Research from MIT Sloan School of Management’s Center for Information Systems Research says that to prepare for a future of digital disruption, companies need to consider which of four business models to adapt. “Given the amount of turmoil digital disruption is causing, it’s time for companies to evaluate these threats and opportunities and start creating new business options for the future — the more connected future of digital ecosystems,” write Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner, both of CISR. Companies also need to develop new capabilities in two areas: learning more about their customers and becoming “more of an ecosystem.”
The single best question companies should ask themselves is what megatrends are coming around the corner. That’s according to MIT Sloan’s Michael A. Cusumano. Two megatrends that stand out in the industries he studies: “the rising importance of industrywide platforms as opposed to stand-alone products, and the rising importance of services or service-like versions of products,” he says.
Fighting against a disruptive business model by rolling out a second business model is one option for companies to consider. But to make that work, you need to avoid the trap of getting stuck in the middle.
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