Posted by: nuleadership | March 31, 2012

Disruptive Technology in Our Future

 

In life, sometimes it is the simple things that count despite modern technology.  In the next few months, I will be able to see 3-4 of my books published.  Traditionally, it takes most large publishing houses 12-18 months before their books are published. 

As an independent publisher, I learned that the speed of products to the market place is a good way to beat a large competitor.  In fact, my success relates to a simple website called Elance.com, a freelance website that allow customers to solicit work from a variety of outsourcing services which include programmers, designers, office support, translators, marketers, researchers and many other disciplines. 

Elance.com allows a business to post a job opening and invites freelance workers who believe they have the requisite skills for the job to make a bid. The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job and also takes a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. 

 Through this website, I have found some of the most talented individuals from across the world. For these services, it is a buyer’s market.  Some people would argue that it is all about buying cheap labor for profitability.  

In this scenario, developed countries appear to be exploiting underdeveloped countries.  This is not always true.  I have paid more in the past for the best talent.  With that said, potential employers see a website that attracts over 500,000 talented freelancers.  For the freelancer, there is an opportunity to bid on 48,000 jobs, worth $480K. Therefore, a differentiate strategy can defeat a low cost  strategy on a global playing field.  

Technology must be a management tool that is used strategically.  Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, provides a framework for understanding the interrelationship between technology changes and a business success. Christensen demonstrates how successful companies have been overtaken by small disruptive technologies. 

The cell phone, undermining the profitability of the established communication networks such as AT&T, further showcases the impacts of disruptive technology.  Sadly, more executives are unwilling to think strategically due to the wrath of their investors and financial pundits.  

For example, Amazon’s revenue grew in 2012 but the details were lacking.  Amazon.com’s revenue rose to 17.4 billion (35% increase) in the fourth quarter.  However, it fell short of Wall Street predictions. 

According to VentureBeat, Amazon sold as many as 6 million Kindle Fires and its older tablet prototype . Given this reality, the Fire would move ahead of Android tablets from Sansung and Motorola, making it only second to Apple’s iPad. Analysts were concerned that the $199 Fire would make a profit.  Additionally, Amazon.com is spending capital on clouding technology.  

Maximizing profits on Fire as an industry leading tablet is a near- term strategy. However, CEO Jeff Bezos appears to have disappointed Wall Street with a long-term perspective instead of sacrificing shareholders with profits in the near term. 

Innovators take note of disruptive change as positive turbulence in the market.  John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, explain, “Understanding the nature of competitively important resources allows managers to identify resources or capabilities that should be further developed to play an important role in the company’s future strategies.” Therefore, organizations which do not understand the importance of making sustainable growth by being more efficient will not be successful over the long-term. 

 Discuss your professional and personal experiences with disruptive technology.

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                                       


 

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Responses

  1. I have experienced both advantages and challenges by disruptive technology. Disruptive technology such as the Internet has opened the doors for freelancers such as myself by giving me access to a marketplace, clientele, and resources without a brick-and-mortar store front or the red tape of fees that would be paid without using services such as Elance.com. By the same token, this open field also brings challenges to the online jobseeker because where there once was a physical limitation on who was privy to the information regarding certain projects, job postings can be opened to anyone across the world. It is therefore imperative for creative freelancers to vigorously make an effort to stay current on the latest technical advances, as well as have an online presence in which to showcase their work at a moment’s notice in order to stay competitive.

    Reference:
    Segal, Laurie. CNNMoney. Retrieved 6 April 2012.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/05/technology/startups/designers/index.htm

    • Hey Chris,

      I agree with your sentiment regarding certain advantages and disadvantages associated with disruptive technologies. In addition to opening the doors to freelancers such as yourself, the internet has done an amazing job in simply providing information to the masses like never before. For over 200 years, Encyclopedia Britannica had provided individuals with rich, vibrant information ranging a variety of topics. However, Britannica’s price of over $1000, its physical size, its weight of over 100 pounds, and its update cycles lasting a year were all annulled by the most popular internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free, non-profit, community-edited online encyclopedia and its lack of price, unlimited size and instant updates are the primary challenges for profitable competition in the consumer market. As a consequence, Encyclopedia Britannica ended print production in 2012. Nonetheless, the increased availability to information also has its disadvantages as the accuracy of the information on the internet cannot always be trusted. In our new world of social media, Christopher Navratil explains that “nowadays, a few keystrokes can powerfully magnify intolerance and bullying or spread a falsehood or incomplete story fast and wide, often with dire consequences.” Thus, the dual nature of disruptive technology must be accounted for.

      Navratil, Christopher (April 4, 2011). The Misinformation Age: What happens When a Headline Goes Viral. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/46703-the-misinformation-age-what-happens-when-a-headline-goes-viral.html

  2. I am currently in my radiology rotation in Michigan and have grown fond of Radiology. However, there is a growing concern of disruptive technologies in the profession of radiology. According to ACR, “Radiologists concerned about sagging reimbursements and offshored jobs now have a new worry: the influx of cheap, ‘good-enough’ scanning technologies that may enable competitors to infiltrate the world of radiology, compete on unequal terms, and redefine the standards of practice” (American College of Radiology). My fellow colleagues don’t feel as if this disruptive technology will have a tremendous impact on their job outlook and profession but the threat is still possible. Doctor Lexa notes that MRI’s are going to be “much cheaper to acquire and operate, easier to use, and about one-tenth the weight and one-tenth the size of systems a generation ago,” (American College of Radiology). As technology advances, there will be new cheaper, more portable, convenient methods for obtaining diagnostic imaging in patient care. This year, there were around 90 total open residency spots in a field which is known to be very competitive to get into! The job outlook is concerning for many applying who see competition arising in the field of Radiology due to disruptive technologies.

    American College of Radiology. (n.d.). The double-edged sword of technology: “disruptive technologies” concern radiologic profession [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/NewsPublications/FeaturedCategories/CurrentHealthCareNews/More/DisruptiveTechnologiesConcernRadiologicProfessionBuiltonInnovation.aspx


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