Three Key Disruptors to Business as Usual!

by Janet Sernack

I recently participated in the Disruptive Innovation Festival where I presented an exciting new webinar on How the lean start-up is disrupting business as usual. Whenever I design a new webinar, blog or learning program, I always invest quality time in updating my resource materials so that I can share the latest thinking and thought leading ideas with the diverse range of online learning communities I collaborate with.

What really excited me is that I identified three converging forces seriously disrupting ‘business as usual.’ This accelerates the importance and role of lean principles as the key emerging innovative business model for 21st century businesses – Resulting in business as unusual!

  1. Cisco Engineering identified 19 billion things connected today to the internet. It has forecasted that in just 6 years time there will be 37 billion new things; this means that there is a technological infrastructure available to everyone, everywhere to become a software designer and it is expanding rapidly.
  2. Entrepreneurship is being promoted globally, by Asian and European countries and global economic forums as the key driver for future economic growth and development.  This supports a global shift from large corporations towards individual empowerment and enablement and smaller adaptive ones.
  3. The Lean Start-Up offers a new potentially low cost methodology and business model for launching disruptive high tech companies that maximize the possibilities of the internet of everything. It provides the mechanism for advancing entrepreneurship in existing large corporate and businesses or in innovative stand alones.

Why is this Important?

  1. The internet of everything is a movement, and movements are emerging as the key vehicles for effecting 21st century transformation.

The internet of everything is transformational because it is creating an ‘explosion of connectivity!’ This potentially makes it possible for governments, organizations and businesses to invent and innovate with unlimited access to global connectivity. The internet of everything connects People, Things, Processes and Data, in ways that enables us to take Data to create Knowledge, Wisdom and Business.

It does this by shifting around massive bits of information which allows us to converge and shape new business models for Value Creation and Value Capturing and Sharing.

This is important because the technological infrastructure is built and in existence. It is being run by a number of global devices that are generating options for creating combinations for connecting data and markets that were previously disjointed –

Digitization is connecting all industries into giant eco-systems, where co-petition, rather than competition, is emerging as a critical success factor.

Additionally, it enables data collection efficiency by sensing, accessing and analyzing data to identify patterns that results in the development of new business logic.  This allows organizations to make informed predictions, measurements and correlations. It provides circularity and feedback loops where users can interact with and work together to solve problems.

  1. There is a global drive for entrepreneurship as a lever for economic growth and development and The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the world’s largest entrepreneurship study, in their 2013 Global Report states that:

Entrepreneurship is believed to contribute to economic development because entrepreneurs create new businesses, and new businesses create jobs, ensure variety, intensify competition, and may even increase productivity through technological change. Some studies argue that in recent decades, several trends such as the development of new technologies have resulted in new business models that suit small and new ventures better than before; hence they see a shift from large corporations to small and new ventures  or put it differently: to the rise of an entrepreneurial economy (GEM Global Report 2013)

This is important because entrepreneurship is growing especially in emerging markets and Africa is predicted to lead the pack. There are three particularly ‘Hot’ Sectors – Social, Women, and Youth all being enabled by the rise of new ‘impact Investors’ or Venture Capitalist (VC) type organizations. Entrepreneurship can also potentially help solve current and future youth unemployment where “all told, almost 290 million (15 – 24 year olds) are neither working, nor studying; almost a quarter of the planets youth.”

One of the key questions is how can we use entrepreneurship to break the ‘education-work-employment’ paradigm? How can we to teach the one quarter of the world’s youth who are neither studying nor working (as well as the growing more mature jobless generation) how to take personal responsibility for creating their own futures by adopting an entrepreneurial mindset?

  1. The lean start-up business model is an adaptive and flexible way of exploring, experimenting and realizing ‘blue ocean’ business opportunities that create uncontested market space. This makes the focus on competition irrelevant and encourages innovation by discarding the conventional rules of the business game.

In a recent HBR article Why the lean Start-Up Changes Everything, Steve Blank, consulting associate professor at Stanford states that the lean start-up turns the traditional and decades old business development and model on its head

The lean start-up differs from conventional business models because it favors experimentation over elaborate planning; this gives people permission to take intelligent risks and fail. It enables people to learn fast ‘by doing’ and can result in increased speed to market. It uses customer feedback to iterate and prototype new products and services, ‘on the run’. This gives start-ups agility and nimbleness in using design thinking to create, iterate and pivot low cost minimal viable products until the product is fit for purpose. This eliminates the need for expensive upfront product development and traditional testing methods.

A start-up is a company a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable, leveragible and scalable (and disruptive) business model that will generate significant revenue often disrupting existing industry paradigms to liberates “out of the box” breakthrough ideas and solutions.  Lean start-ups are already providing paradigm shifting solutions to many of the world’s health, environmental and medical problems.

What is the real opportunity?

Entrepreneurial lean start-ups can proliferate via the internet of things and potentially create an entrepreneurial innovation based economy that helps solve some of the world’s wicked problems whilst promoting economic growth.

It can also enable people of all ages and denominations, cultures and organizations to take self responsibility for surviving flowing and flourishing in this exciting new circular and connected world. By learning how to be, think and act like an entrepreneurs, which can of course, be cultivated and learnt!

How to take the first step towards be-ing, thinking and acting like an entrepreneur

Most entrepreneurs are motivated and some say ‘driven’ by necessity or a deep sense passionate purpose to make a difference.  They are fueled by sense of urgency and possibility to take responsibility and be accountable in bringing it fearlessly to fruition. They believe in themselves and their ability to do what others fear to do, to play in the unknown and bounce back from failures and adversity.

So it may be useful to begin by asking yourself these three key questions:

  • What is it I deeply care deeply enough about that will compel me to explore and master unchartered and turbulent waters?
  • What is the difference I want to, and am able to make to the world? Why is that important to me, and the world? What is the opportunity of possibility?
  • What key wicked problem/possibility exists in the world that only I know now, or could know in the future, how to solve, and create an innovative solution that could be leveraged and scaled?

By investing time in retreat and reflection, to consider your responses to these key questions, you might just hit on a ‘blue ocean’ business opportunity and create an innovative uncontested market space that can be realized on the internet of everything.

image credit: solarnavigator


Wait! Before you go…

Choose how you want the latest innovation content delivered to you:

  • DailyRSS FeedEmailTwitterFacebookLinkedin Today
  • WeeklyEmail NewsletterFree MagazineLinkedin Group

  • How the Lean Start-up Accelerates Innovation Janet Sernack gained her consulting, education, facilitation, training and executive coaching skills, from 30 years experience in manufacturing, retailing and learning and development businesses to Australia’s and Israel’s’ top 100 companies. She resides in Israel where she founded a start-up, ImagineNation™ that teaches innovative leadership and start-up entrepreneurship via The Start-Up Game™.