Speed, connectivity and creative destruction defines 21st century business success. Think Yellow Cab. One minute they have a near monopoly in what they called the cab business. Today companies like Uber and Lift are dominating this space redefined as “ride sharing.” Customers receive superior service through an algorithm and smart phone connectivity. Both Uber and Lift are now tech pioneers pushing autonomous driving vehicles that will turn mobility into a service.
The question of 2017 is whether your business is fast enough to succeed?
The Sustainability Of Change
Write this down and post it where you will see it everyday:
“The sustainable competitive advantage is learning faster than your competitor.”
This defines business success in our Information Age. It embodies why Silicon Valley technology companies continue to drive world commerce. These entrepreneurs have a culture of creative destruction. Learning faster is the foundation of their success.
No business, region or country can succeed by attempting to preserve the status quo or recapture past success. Sustainable business success is now achieved through change that aligns with these two Information Age realities:
- Knowledge doubles every ten years
- Computing power doubles every two years.
Any business, region or country that fails to engage with speed in learning and speed in computing will become a “Yellow Cab.”
Three Key Steps To Sustainable Change
Whether you run a sandwich shop or corporation your focus must be on change.
As a business owner or CEO your role in the 21st century is to drive creative destruction.
The obvious question is how to achieve change that is creatively destructive?
Here are three steps:
- Search for change. The odds are that your business will not invent change. What is important is that you see change coming and adopt it. To do so means going outside your normal business environment. I recommend to business owners or CEOs that they visit San Francisco at least every other year. The purpose of the visit is to search for change and to meet those that are creating change.
- Engage with urban millennials. Urban millennials are currently the 21st century’s change agents. It is important to your business success to truly understand how millennials are not younger versions of the boomer generation but with a better understanding of how to use smart phones and social media. Millennials view the future differently and are the most diverse generation in our history. Urban millennial lives are captured by the concept of “cool with a purpose.” They seek to align value with values. They are the future for every business including yours.
- Create a change culture. Change is hard for an existing business. Most businesses have a lot to lose from change. Think Apple. It was founded as a desk top personal computer company competing against IBM. Steve Jobs created Apple’s success by pursuing product revenue cannibalization. He creatively diminished its founding business by launching the iPhone and iPad. Now Steve Jobs is remembered as one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. The challenge of creating a creatively destructive business culture is the opportunity for every business owner or CEO in today’s Information Age.
Achieving A Sustainable Economy And Business
20th century economics was based on extracting and harvesting. We started the 20th century with the majority of our citizens living on farms. We grew the 20th century on coal and petroleum that generated the energy and fertilizers that drove unprecedented production and pollution. We ended the 20th century with a scientific consensus that this 20th century growth model was not sustainable.
This might seem like it has nothing to do with your daily business activities. That is wrong. A multi-trillion dollar global Green Economic Revolution http://www.earth2017.com/250-trillion-green-economic-revolution/ is occurring. It has these two drivers:
Sustainability costs less. Sustainability reduces costs and its enabling technologies are winning price competitive advantage. For example, solar is equal to, or cheaper than, utility power in all states. Zero waste manufacturing best practices are proven to reduce costs and are being used by Walmart, Dupont and General Motors to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Sustainability is the path to winning on price in the 21st century.
Urban millennials embrace sustainability. Urban millennials are now the growth engine of our economy. In 2017 they will surpass the boomer generation in earned income buying power. Unlike most of the boomer generation, urban millennials seek to live a sustainable lifestyle. They seek to work with companies that have sustainability embedded into job functions. They buy from companies that are trustworthy and transparent regarding their business practices. They buy products/services that contribute to a greater good.
Your business question and opportunity is whether your business has the speed to align with the Green Economic Revolution? How you answer that question will determine if your business has a future that is more like a Yellow Cab or an Uber.
About the author
Bill Roth is a clean tech pioneer who led the team that launched the first hydrogen fueled Prius. He is a featured contributor on Triple Pundit and Latin Business Today. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, has been used by thousands of business people to implement proven green best practices that make money and a difference. Bill’s latest book, The Boomer Generation Diet, is his personal story on how to achieve sustained weight loss while still having fun and living more. The book’s ten customizable best practices are the sustainable solutions to our national weight crisis that threatens our health and medical cost bankruptcy.