The military have long used “red teams” to test their battle strategies and defenses. Corporations have used this technique more recently to test IT infrastructure against cyber-attacks. But what if you created a team to figure out ways to put the entire company out of business? Would your leadership appreciate your ideas and move quickly to counter these potential threats, or would they toss the report, bury their heads, and maintain the status quo?
It’s quite clear that we’re in the midst of a global economic transformation. Real-time sharing of information is speeding up the pace of innovation across all industries. Hundreds of millions in developing countries are rising out of poverty to join the middle class faster than ever before. Scrappy startups are taking advantage of reduced barriers to entry offered by the Internet and mobile platforms to disrupt Fortune 500 businesses.
In order the survive and thrive, businesses need to understand where disruption is coming from and how to harness it. Figuring out what could kill your business might be the only real way to save it. Here are some steps to help.
First, identify emerging technologies such as 3D printing, virtual reality, UAVs, and other emerging platforms, and explore how they are changing the business landscape and changing consumer behaviors. Which technologies pose the biggest threat to your company and industry?
Second, identify trends and factors shaping consumer lifestyles such as the increase in responsible consumption, the sharing economy, and the rise of women in society. Which trends could threaten your growth opportunities?
Finally, merge the two to see how emerging technologies will play off consumer trends or how consumer values will impact the way technology is adopted to see what these changes could mean for society and for your business.
What you find might scare you and your executive leadership, but great challenges also present great opportunities.