I have TPD insurance with AIA. That’s no big deal, of course – thousands of Australians are insured with AIA. But an interesting feature of my AIA insurance is that I get a 10% discount on all my Qantas domestic flights. As a professional speaker who travels a lot, that is a big deal!
This is a win-win partnership: I get cheaper flights and AIA gets a loyal customer. But is there a loser? Yes! Think about the travel industry, where most travel agents struggle on margins far lower than 10%. And now they face competition not just from inside their industry, but from a completely unexpected sector.
More and more businesses are facing similar scenarios: Their biggest competitors (the “disrupters”, if you like) aren’t the traditional big players in their industry, but come from completely outside their industry.
Accenture’s Technology Vision 2016 survey of Australian CEOs reported that 86% of Australian businesses expect rapid or unprecedented technology change in the next three years. That’s not surprising, but it might surprise you that only 30% of them think the greatest risk comes from established competitors. Most expect – in fact, they know – the biggest changes will come from new players, including unexpected disruptions from other industries.
How can we possibly stay ahead of the changes that affect us?
The solution is to develop the skill of “transdisciplinarity” – one of the ten skills the Institute for the Future identified as key skills for the future workforce. In brief, transdisciplinarity involves applying ideas, knowledge and expertise across different disciplines and industries. In practical terms, it means you regularly look up from the narrow, highly-specialised focus of your day-to-day work and take a broader perspective.