The biggest changes to your job and business will come from outside your industry. In their Accenture Technology Vision 2016 report, Accenture says almost half of Australian executives expect the greatest risk of disruption from this kind of competition.
It’s all well and good to compare yourself with yourself, so you can keep improving. And it’s sometimes even worth looking around at the competition, so you can strive to be (or continue to be) the market leader. But that won’t protect you from people outside your industry stealing a march on you and the rest of your industry.
You can’t always predict this, of course. But you can be more aware of it by training yourself to consider the impact of new technology and trends.
For example, self-driving cars will affect a lot of industries:
- Obviously, car manufacturing and car sales will change, because many people won’t have to buy their own cars.
- We won’t need car insurance, because we won’t be responsible for car accidents.
- The multi-billion-dollar parking industry will be affected, because cars won’t be sitting in garages and parking spaces all day.
- Accommodation, travel and hospitality will be affected, because people can drive to destinations overnight (sleeping in their car) rather than taking flights and staying in hotels.
- Cemeteries, morgues, and funeral directors will be affected, because there will be fewer deaths from car accidents.
- Education will be affected, because cars might become mobile classrooms rather than just transport vehicles.
Notice that some of these connections (such as car sales, insurance and parking) are more obvious than others, because they are directly related to cars. But some of the others are not so obvious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important! If you’re in one of those less-obvious industries, you’ll have an advantage by thinking ahead and assessing the impact of this technology.
Exercise: Be a Connector
Every time you hear about some new technology or trend, rather than just dismissing it because It’s not directly related to your industry, ask:
“How could this affect me?”
“How could this affect my business?”
“How could this affect my industry?”
Consider both the positives and negatives – that is, the opportunities and the threats.
Do this regularly and proactively, and you will spot new opportunities and keep finding ways to add value to yourself and your business.