For a business to become innovative enough to keep pace with fast changing customer needs the whole organisation has to transform — to change how it organises work and what its values and culture are.
— Glyn Britton, CSO at KBS Albion
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You probably read in the news this week that Uber has got it’s licence to operate in London back (for the next 15 months at least). Alas, we don’t have too many Ubers up here in Shropshire, but when I use my local mini-cab firm I hail them using their app, track their progress using the app and get notifications about the arrival, driver and car through the app. Regardless of what you think of Uber and their business practices, it is in all likelihood in response to them that similar technology is now being deployed by some of the more traditional players in the market.

Startups by their nature are often disruptive to existing sectors and markets. It’s perhaps easier for an organisation with nothing to lose to operate in a radically different way to what the market they are entering is used to. This of course can have both positive and negative effects. The ultimatum that TFL has given Uber is to continue to reform or risk being excluded from the capital once again. Depending on your point of view this could be evidence of either a market forcing the newcomer to raise their standards for the good of its customers or the packing together of a traditional set of players to protect the interests of the disrupted market by closing down or at least closing the gap between them and the innovative newcomer who is threatening their livelihood.     

This isn’t a new problem. Disruption of the status quo is how we adapt and evolve. How often do we spare a thought for the farm labourer who was disrupted by a horse-drawn plough, the pin makers who were disrupted by the mechanisation of their industry, or the telegram delivery boy who was disrupted by the introduction of the telephone? I'm sure that individually they had a heck of a time, but years later few of us would dispute the benefits that disruption has brought to society as a whole.  

So some of the conversations we have been having in the lab this week have been around whether disruption can occur from with the traditional marketplace, or whether it will always be the newcomers that shake things up? Can you ever innovate by starting from a position of what you already do and stripping it back rather than building up from a radically different starting point? How can traditional markets, sectors and organisations adapt, and is it always a case of them or us?  

Inspired by a recent Glyn Britton post on the topic of ‘how the innovation landscape is changing, and how agencies and consultancies are adapting’, we thought that for this month’s #blabchat it would be good to discuss disruption, in particular how traditional sectors and organisations are adapting to keep up with the world around them and meet the needs and expectations of a more 'connected' customer . . .

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Join us for some thought-provoking chat on Thursday 5th July from 8pm and be sure to tell your friends!

Remember, label your answers A1, A2, A3, etc and most importantly, don't forget to use #blabchat when you respond, even if it’s replying to someone else's tweet.

 

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  @simon_penny

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