Operations

Disrupt. Adapt. Repeat.

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Lexi Tucker - Also by this author

Summit speaker Brian Solis spoke to a crowd eager to ask questions about how to keep up with the times.
Summit speaker Brian Solis spoke to a crowd eager to ask questions about how to keep up with the times.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Businesses of all kinds should never undercut themselves by thinking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If your operation hopes to thrive amid constant technological advances, you must be willing to learn how to speed up and simplify the service experience to keep up with customers.

Brian Solis, one of Silicon Valley’s leading experts, authors, and speakers on digital transformation and innovation, told operators at the 2017 LCT Leadership Summit why they must adapt to disruption sooner than expected.

No One Is Safe

Solis included an image of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in his presentation and mentioned even he isn’t immune to disruption. “Every company is being disrupted. The innovators are always disrupted by the next innovator. In this case, Travis might be disrupting himself with all of the things he is and isn’t doing,” Solis said.

Digital Darwinism

The evolution of society and technology and its impact on behavior, expectations, and customs.

Nevertheless, the Uber app changed the expectations of the consumer to the point where it became the standard for an experience. “We can debate all day long about how much it sucks these guys aren’t licensed, properly insured, or driving their own cars, but the reality is it’s changed the expectation for a consumer, and it’s been felt across multiple industries.”

People like good experiences so much they’re willing to pay more money for the same service if they know they’ll have a rave-worthy experience. Experts everywhere believe whether you’re a disruptor or the disrupted, the future lies in the experience you deliver, Solis said. “That is your value proposition — and technology is an enabler for that value proposition.”

What Have We Become?

Technology, for all its perks and drawbacks, has turned consumers into what Solis calls “accidental narcissists.” Every aspect of it conditions people into thinking they can have what they want, when they want it, how they want it. We are all unknowingly being taught to respond and react to technology first.

This drastically alters the customer experience. Solis showed the example of a photo along a street in the Netherlands. Since people kept walking into the street because they didn’t look up from their phones, they’ve installed lights that flash red or green onto the sidewalk.

“Yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous, but the city had to make a decision. They had to engineer around it. So, they created a counter-intuitive solution for a changing world,” Solis said. “When we’re talking about what business strategies will work tomorrow, we have to ask ourselves over the next several years which side of that coin we are thinking — because the other side of the coin is not going to keep conforming to the way we do business.”

Pushing Revenue Away

Many operators tend to keep old policies because “that’s the way they’ve always done it.” Modern customers realize they have reluctant relationships with many businesses they work with simply because they haven’t adapted to the new world.

“Every day, they’re either changing what business they work with, or startups or other businesses are coming in to disrupt and deliver against that. People are bypassing your processes, policies, standards, and products to get what they want,” Solis said.

This was never an issue, but loyalty is now at risk because of accidental narcissists. Impatience is a bigger issue now than ever.

“The only way to innovate is to build the bridge to how people are changing,” Solis said. “It should be obvious most customers today would rather do everything possible on an app before they have to talk to another human being. Why? Because it’s more efficient.”

While apps might not always offer the best solution for chauffeured transportation, it’s the concept of making things as simple as possible on the consumer that drives business, Solis said. For example, the Starbucks mobile app creates a good problem: More people are ordering via mobile for an in-store pickup than people in the physical store. The line is longer for mobile pickups than the one for walk-ins.

“The thing is, it exists and it just becomes another example of you competing with this new expectation, mindset, and behavior,” he said. People want to shop, buy, and do business with companies that give them the conveniences they appreciate and value.

Act Before It’s Too Late

Operators have an opportunity to reimagine value propositions, not just during a ride, but every part of that engagement. Learning new concepts and applying them to a business can be difficult, he admitted. “The hardest part of getting there is unlearning the very standards, processes, preferences, and belief systems we lean on to make decisions today.

“But here’s the thing about innovation: Anyone can innovate. It’s a choice. But once you start experimenting and trying new things, once you get into the mindset of someone else, you start to get the experience that gives you the expertise necessary to start moving in new directions.”

Failure is inevitable, especially if you don’t try to change. Silicon Valley celebrates trial and error because as you gain new experience and expertise, so does your whole company. Over time, you’re teaching your staff how to compete differently, and it becomes part of your company culture.

Solis left the audience with one thought: “Innovation has to start somewhere, and in the best cases, it starts with an individual who’s willing to see and try things differently.”   

[email protected]

There is no one way to succeed in the future. Success depends on a balance of iteration, innovation, and disruption. If you do not disrupt yourself, it will be a gift given to you by someone else.

Iteration: Doing the same things better

Innovation: Doing new things

Disruption: Doing new things that make the old ones obsolete

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