Surviving in the Age of Acceleration.

Since 2004 there has been the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, the iPhone (and a 100,000% increase in US wireless network traffic through to 2014), Google’s acquisition of YouTube, Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle, 3G, 4G and 5G wireless connectivity.

Uber, Instagram, Lyft, Snapchat, Doordash, Impossible Foods, Tinder, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Bitcoin (and other crypto currencies), Spotify Asana, Revolut, Zoopla, Cazoo, AirBnB, FitBit and Dropbox were all founded during or after 2007.

30,000 venture capital funded start-ups occurred at the height of the pandemic, in 2021, with a deal- value of over US$600Bn, a year-on-year increase of 92%.

Volume to Q3 2022 declined year-on- year by 53%, re-emphasising the ubiquity of volitivity and change.

The ascendence of new and well-funded competitors from “nowhere,” global recession, and the necessity to radically change legacy culture, operations and systems is now a matter of “surviving”, not just “thriving”.

Frontier technologies are now pushing society to the point of “dislocation” when the acceleration in change exceeds the human capability to adapt to it.

This is fundamentally different to “disruption”, when a compelling competitive advantage, held by one entity, renders another obsolete.

The example of market-dominant Blockbuster Video’s board’s resistance to changing its business model, to compete with streaming start-up Netflix’s subscription model, is a salutary one.

Streaming was then in its infancy. Blockbuster decided to keep its existing business model (of which return fees was a significant revenue contributor – 12%).

Netflix subsequently became the dominant force in television and film.

Apple (a technology company) caused the same kind of disruption in the music business, by driving the music download revolution.

Amazon challenged and transformed the book industry by dominating e-books with its Kindle product.

“We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the twenty-first century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress. Organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace”. (Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google)

In a recent PwC survey nearly 40% of CEOs now think their companies will NOT be economically viable in a decade, if they remain on their current path.

It’s therefore critical that organisations now recognise and incorporate the imperative for seizing opportunity from continuous and rapid change into their ethos and operations.

Their very survival depends upon it.

Let’s discuss – what’s YOUR view…?

Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI
Kotter Change Leader Certified
Principal Consultant – The Sixsess Consultancy
Empowering Clients to Seize Opportunity from Change

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