retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

CNBC has a story about digital disruption, noting that “in 2015, less than one percent of executives believed digital disruption could have a transformative impact on their industry. Now, Airbnb is more valuable than Hilton, Tesla is more valuable than Ford, General Motors and BMW, and Amazon's takeover of Whole Foods just put tremendous pressure on competing grocery chains' stocks.”

Now, just two years later, “according to new research from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation … more than three-quarters of executives now believe the impact of disruption on their industries will be ‘major’ or ‘transformative’.”

But here’s the scary punchline: “40 percent of survey respondents still feel their leaders do not understand the threat, or are responding inappropriately. There is still a large gap between acknowledging the need to transform and actually achieving transformation.”

The story makes clear that business leaders have various choices when facing disruption, but that essentially it comes down to a defensive strategy of retreating/retrenching, or an offensive strategy of disrupting from within.

But I’m not sure that’s really a choice. I think that in the end, disruptive companies love it when the industries they are targeting go into a defensive posture … because that leaves so many more openings for them to exploit. Defensive companies see themselves as having everything to lose, and, as we know, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. And the freedom to disrupt can be a powerful thing.

It’s an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: