In this new battle ground, intangibles such as expertise, brands and patents, rather than balance sheets, can often become a company's most valuable asset, often the only ones that will not quickly become liabilities. View BlackBerry's current efforts to transform their operations and balance sheet to forge a turnaround and survive, or the film-based photo industry's unsuccessful strategy of resistance. Mitigating risks early and leading rather than following the innovation are critical to a company's survival.
Finally, serial Big Bang Disruptors actually put themselves out of business, emerging as a new entity that shares the same name but little else. They seek to reimagine the entire business as a single platform for many other revenue streams. Apple began with desktops and laptops, then the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. Computer sales now represent only a small percentage of total revenues - not bad for a "computer" company!
Disruptive innovation, while not for the faint of heart, also cannot be stopped. It is within the fabric of our everyday culture, and businesses are already being disrupted. What is the good news from all this? Big Bang Disruptions hold tremendous potential for management that can quickly learn the new rules of undisciplined strategy. Current businesses may be quickly replaced by something more dynamic, unstable, yet more profitable - winner takes all!
Paul Nunes is Global Managing Director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance and co-author, “Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation”
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