Real World Futures

How elephants adapt to disruption

Date: 01 November 2018

THE power of adaptation to reshape lives, businesses and behaviour was centre stage at the QUT Real World Futures 2018 Conference.

Disruptive Influences And What To Do With Them – The Adaptation Factor heard from nine speakers experienced in how to adjust to the changes created by technological disruption.

They included the President of Robert Bosch Australia, Mr Gavin Smith, who detailed how one of the world’s most established manufacturing businesses had adapted to a digital marketplace.

He explained how Bosch has used the insight that everything it made in its key industries would soon be connected through the Internet of Things.

Bosch operates in four industry sectors – mobility, industrial technology, energy and building technology and consumer goods.

It has international sales of $122 billion, is 76 in the Fortune 500 index and is 92% owned by a charitable trust.

One of Bosch’s challenges is the likelihood that many of the goods it makes will be superseded by services. For example, will a homeowner buy a drill or pay for the service to create the hole it makes?

Mr Smith said Bosch had reshaped itself, understanding there was no role model for digital transformation. Part of its response had been to create a “cloud” for Bosch products which would allow it to be a supplier of services as well as goods.

This included products that ranged from running home and office heating to climate sensing and keeping track of trade tools.

He praised the value of openness between suppliers and customers. “Collaboration is the new black.” And he advocated “aspirational planning” which encouraged businesses to focus on what they wanted to achieve rather than the steps they believed they could take to achieve it.

In the same session, the Suncorp Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Steve Johnston, listed his observations of how his business (which includes Australia’s fifth largest bank), was adapting to disruption.

They were:

  1. Establish the customer as the most important stakeholder;
  2. Make an “ambidextrous” transformation;
  3. Avoid delayed investment;
  4. Don’t count on the regulator for protection;
  5. Adapt when margins are at their peak;
  6. Innovate and incubate;
  7. Treat incumbency as an asset;
  8. Scale can be a differentiator;
  9. Simplicity and transparency wins;
  10. Earn your social licence to operate.

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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