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One evening in 2008, at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp met and shared notes on the difficulty they had in finding taxis. Uber was born soon afterwards. Today, Uber is valued at $68 billion , and it has irreversibly changed how we commute. Not only that, the 'uberization of services' is considered a game changing business model across domains.
The Uber origin story, for me, is the best example of how innovative thinking with a focus on changing experiences and revenue generation can change the face of any industry. Everywhere we look, new, ground breaking services are being introduced that have the power of disrupting previously stable domains. The advent of the GAFAmodel (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) digital banking, social banking and cashless economy enabled by the likes of mobile wallets have galvanized staid old bankers into transformative action. In association with Vanson Bourne, Dell Technologies polled 4,000 business leaders across 16 countries and 12 industries to assess their readiness for digital transformation. This Digital Transformation Index throws light on some of the biggest challenges before organizations today. Consider this, 62 percent of the 4000 business leaders surveyed, have witnessed new competitors entering the market because of the emergence of digital technologies. Right now, if innovation is not the name of your game, you might as well quit it.
Currently, the initiative for disruptive technology seems to be firmly entrenched within the startup economy. What makes them so successful on the innovation scale and why can't large enterprises also do the same? To answer that, we need to first understand what ails corporates today. Unfortunately, after years of practice, we are still unable to move out of the 'this is how it has always been done' rut. To move fast, and in creative ways like a startup, is difficult because we are simply not used to it. Even as enterprises struggle to deal with the challenges of the digital era, start-ups are making most of the opportunities. It is no wonder that a whopping 78 percent of business leaders say that they feel threatened by startups and 45 percent fear that their business might be obsolete in five years.
There is no getting away from the necessity of investing in ground breaking, out of the box thinking and solutioning if we are to remain relevant. To begin with, I strongly believe that a total transformation of processes, technology and mind-sets is critical. Of course, this cannot be done in isolation or selectively. Even as we look at improving processes, we must address existing mind-sets and at the same time invest in new technology. Above all, we must invest time and energy on delivering value, and we will fail to do so if we don't understand stated and unstated customer needs. Understanding end customer requirements and addressing them even before they realize it, is one of the secrets to entrepreneurial success. Corporates must emulate it if they are to beat the startups in the innovation game.