With the fast pace of technological evolution, there’s always a new tool or advancement to explore. Companies can accelerate business growth by identifying digital disruption factors that can improve their product or service and better serve their customers.
With so many new technologies to consider, it’s important to identify what works and put it to use with minimal time and resources.
Disruptive Technology: Perceived as an Opportunity and a Threat
A 2022 survey of 1,300 global CEOs by consulting firm KPMG found that CEOs view disruptive technology as an opportunity for accelerated growth — and a threat. Emerging technologies can help accelerate business performance. Yet, there are challenges in adopting them and scaling them when finances are prioritized elsewhere.
Senior executives can take these steps to keep pace with technological disruption and lead in accelerating their business growth.
1. Designate Digital Disruption Team Members
Your business likely has an IT team that’s responsible for keeping your digital network up and running and secure. Another key component in digital disruption is to appoint a team dedicated to digital research and strategy. The team’s purpose is to make recommendations for how to accelerate business growth for your company.
A 2021 study by IBM found executives with titles including, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO), are becoming more prominent among businesses that are interested in disruptive technologies. Leaders in these positions can drive initiatives that examine helpful tools that can contribute to a growth accelerator project.
These technology tools may include:
- Internet of Things
- Artificial intelligence
Ask employees to contribute ideas
Encourage all employees to contribute ideas on how to leverage digital disruption, especially when your employees fit your target demographic. They can provide helpful insights on how competitors are using specific tools and methods.
It’s important for smaller businesses to empower team members to make recommendations for digital areas on which to focus and further research.
To embrace disruption, you don’t have to completely overhaul your company’s value proposition, product, or service line. Paying close attention to your consumers’ evolving needs and pain points can help you understand how to use existing or emerging digital tools to serve them better. Don’t just react to dealing with disruptions as they come. Instead, focus on ways your business can become the disruptor. Whether it’s by using a new technology to your advantage or by creating a new tool or model based on your product or service, always have an eye on disruption.
Encourage interdepartmental communication
Encourage frequent communication between your CTO, CIO, IT team, and other senior executives and other departments throughout the company. This can help ensure alignment in customer interests and pain points and how technology can be used to address their needs.
2. Support a Culture of Innovation
Every employee at your company and every customer you serve have the potential to help you accelerate your business. A restrictive company culture that’s focused on doing things the way they’ve always been done will only keep your organization stagnant or ultimately, render it obsolete.
McKinsey & Company reported in 2022 that over 80% of executives say innovation is among their top three priorities. However, fewer than 10% say they’re satisfied with their organizations’ innovation performance.
Some ways you can foster innovation with a focus on digital disruption follow.
Create a safe space for employees to contribute ideas
This might be through an online forum. Credit card brand Mastercard created its own “Mastercard Labs” innovation hub.
The hub has grown into a service that partners with other businesses to help drive innovation. You may not have the resources to do that yet, but you can get started with low-cost idea-gathering methods.
Communicate that there are no “bad” ideas. Random thoughts can lead to the next big thing for your business. Ensure that employees are supported to freely share their thoughts. When employees contribute to innovation, recognize them to motivate others to do the same.
Enable and encourage brainstorming sessions
Your company can facilitate brainstorming moments in existing meetings and company-wide brainstorming sessions. All-hands meetings give all employees the opportunity to collaborate on ideas.
3. Devise a Digital Disruption Strategy
Before dedicating dollars and resources to moving in a specific digital direction, break down a transformation into a set of smaller steps. Use a data-driven approach that enables your business to learn and pivot along the way.
In creating a digital transformation strategy, account for:
- How a new tool or way of doing things fits and serves your target consumers or employees
- How the pace of adoption will take place, including a timeline and check-in steps that must occur before moving forward
- How you will gather and analyze insights every step of the way to inform next steps
Create a flexible model
A flexible model that eases into transformation can help prevent costly mistakes and wasted resources. Make incremental changes that help your team become accustomed to changes. This can result in fewer internal mistakes and pain points that may have negative customer impact.
Use real-time data that you gather during each change transition. Optimize your disruption strategy and iterate to make it more efficient and cost-effective.
4. Offer Continuing Education
To support digital transformation at your business, it’s important to continually provide help to develop their skills and knowledge. Talent resources firm Robert Half states that “preventing skills gaps from becoming chasms” is the top challenge for senior executives in 2023.
To help ensure adaptation to digital transformation, encourage your team to:
- Keep up on industry news
- Participate in industry-related online and in-person networking groups and discussions
- Monitor competitor performance to learn how competitors are using or creating disruptive technologies
- Stay updated on emerging technologies and learn how to use them through continuing education
Stay Informed on Emerging Technologies for Accelerative Growth
Digital technologies are always changing. The more people at your company who are familiar with new tools, services, and models, and how to use them, the better. Online education focused on digital technology and transformation can train your company’s leaders on the emerging digital methods and technological solutions that may benefit your company.
Explore the Digital Transformation for Senior Executives program and Leadership & Management Certificate program from Wharton Online. These programs for senior business leaders can help your company accelerate business growth amid digital disruption.