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Put Strategic Disruption to Work for Your Business

October 20, 2017

Defining—and acting on—the challenges that can help you become a disruptive force.

Disruption can be the key to reimagining your company and revitalizing productivity and profitability. Before you disrupt your business, you might want to disrupt your thinking, says Daniel Burrus, CEO of Burrus Research and co-author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible. “Hey, you’re smart. If you were working on the right problem, you would’ve solved it by now,” he says. “Most of us ill-define the problem or the challenge. That’s why we’re having trouble with it. But I’ve never found a problem you couldn’t solve once you defined it correctly.”

When the problem is what it will take to spark disruption at your company, here are some strategic ways to approach the issue:

  • No idea is too small. Even small ideas and incremental changes can have a big impact. “Start thinking about how you’re interacting with your suppliers, your customers, and the people who need to work with you as a part of your business,” says technology futurist and speaker Sierra Modro. “That’s when you have to understand how connected they are. Their needs may drive you to adopt technologies you hadn’t thought about.”
  • Reverse engineer. Start with the problem, and then identify the technology that will address it quickly, simply, and within your budget parameters, she says. It’s a mistake to begin by being drawn to the technology and then trying to figure out what you can do with it. In fact, that can create new problems.
  • Unplug from the present, and plug into your future. For at least an hour each week, Burrus says, “change the conversation with yourself” to move away from putting out fires to focus on what he calls “hard trends”—things you’re certain of that will have an impact on the future of your business—and “soft trends” (the ifs and maybes that play a role in any business). “By separating the hard trends from the soft trends, you can start to see the game-changing opportunities, even as a small business.”

Finally, make sure you’re fully exploiting the technology that you already have on hand, including artificial intelligence. Burrus recently wrote about the impact of Amazon’s decision to allow Amazon Echo owners to plug their own corporate databases into the device. One of his readers taught Alexa to answer the 50 questions his company receives most often from customers. The results were so positive that the company is exploring further use of the device.

Read the Emerging Technology: Harnessing the Power of “What’s Next” for Your Business Guide to learn how disruption can help you see your business in a new light—and grow.

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