All companies are susceptible to disruption - across all industries, at every
scale, and in both strong and weak players. There are many case studies and
stories to learn from (e.g. Clayton Christensen
and other examples here).
Spectrum of Players
Some companies play the role of the disruptor, while others are continually
caught off guard by disruptions in their space. Certain companies are aware
of disruptions building momentum, but are powerless to stop them. A select few
companies use disruption awareness as a competitive advantage by tracking emerging
signs and proactively applying tactics to protect their interests. Where does
your company fall in this spectrum?
What can you do?
Disruptions get their power from the element of surprise and from breaking
industry norms. They can be very difficult to identify, track, and manage. So
how do you prepare for the possibility of disruption in your business? ipCapital
has found that companies who actively manage disruption do the following:
Develop their own disruptions, by:
Actively seeking new innovations from a variety of sources;
Understanding the strategies of their top competitors and identifying
peripheral and potential competitors;
Protecting IP for the long term - today's idea may be tomorrow's success,
Assessing risks in the marketplace.
Build a customized disruption prediction model, by:
Studying past disruptions to define their characteristics and develop
"signatures of disruption" across the market, technology, financial,
and IP space;
Developing a model to predict future disruptions, by:
Assembling the best set of resources for their area of business;
Building, then extensively testing, a model to identify disruption
signatures in the space; and
Leveraging the model to track tomorrow's potential disruptions.
Build a "Tool Chest" to defend against disruptions, by:
Identifying the possible disruption scenarios in the business; and
Preparing an action plan or tactic for each scenario, such as inventing
in front of a promising technology, creating technical publications to
prevent others from patenting, early identification of potential partners,
Develop an executable strategy to manage emerging or future disruptions, by:
Integrating the Tool Chest, Disruption Prediction Model, and being a
Disruptor into an IP Strategy;
Ensuring there are processes in place to execute the strategy; and
Providing a detailed, actionable roadmap with an execution strategy.
Managing disruption requires being proactive, not reactive. It takes time,
effort, and resources to get ahead and stay ahead of potential disruptions.
Success can be hard to measure, but denial or complacency can risk your entire
business. IP plays a key role in disruption - it is both a means for identifying
it and protection against it. Make sure that you are ready when disruption comes
galloping your way!