15 Feb 2016

This is NO ordinary DISRUPTION! Are you ready?

Disruption is not a new thing, it’s been around forever. So what’s new now? Why is it such a big deal?

It’s predicted that the change coming in the next 5 years will be greater than
the last 20 years combined!!!

Now this is a VERY BIG deal and if it’s true every single one of us is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY affected by this tsunami of change.

In a recent publication by the McKinsey Global Institute (2015) ‘No Ordinary Disruption’ by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel they talk about the 4 BIG disruptive forces colliding & rapidly transforming our global economy.

The rate of change in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world we live in is accelerating at a rapid pace due to these 4 big disruptive forces hitting us all as the same time, and it’s the speed & scale at which this happening which is the most critical:

  • Industrialisation & urbanisation in emerging markets
  • The accelerating impact of technology
  • The growth of global interconnectivity
  • An aging world

Industrialisation & Urbanisation in emerging markets

In the 1700’s it took 150yrs to double income and this affected approximately 10million people. It took China just 12 years to double income and this impacted approximately 1 billion people! McKinsey estimate that if we add in all the emerging markets this could have an impact equal to 3,000 times the size & scale of the industrial revolution. 3 billion more people (give or take) finding their way into the consuming class. Just think about it, this will be like an asteroid hitting our planet in terms of resource requirements, consumption and competition!

The accelerating impact of technology

It’s an undisputed fact that the rate of adoption of new technology is speeding up. To get 50 million users it took 75 years for the phone to make it to this number, 13 years for the TV and only 1 year for Facebook. Recently the record has just been set by ‘Angry Birds’ taking only 35 days! The rapidly accelerating speed (to me) is just mind blowing!!!

The growth of global interconnectivity

The global environment is very much connected and getting more so by the day. Just look at the impact of the global financial crises or more recently Greece’s debt default on the worldwide economy. A hacker from downtown Moscow can bring down the electricity grid in the west coast of the USA!!!

An aging world

Not only will we get a huge growth in the consuming class but the world is getting older at an increasing rate, and this will have a very significant impact on our economies. McKinsey estimate that by 2040 1 in 4 people in the advanced economies (+ China) will be over 65 years. Just think of the impact of this on healthcare and consumer demand?

I saw a great image the other day which really got me to think about the level of change which is coming down the track.

Tectonic Shift

In a class I ran the other day one of my students told me about a friend of his (a lucky one) had just bought one of the new tesla cars, which my participant was told already has this potential!!! Google’s driverless car has driven for over 700k miles without any significant incident. This is not a pipe dream it’s actually here already from a technology perspective, so the question above is a very legitimate one!

To survive in this new world we all need to learn to embrace change and be willing to adapt. Fast Co Magazine picked out ADAPTABILITY as the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT skill to thrive in the 21st century. We as a business are doing everything we can now to ensure we build this capability to adapt as and when it’s needed.

In the new world it is not the big fish which eats the small fish; it’s the fast
which eats the slow fish

Klaus Schwab
Founder & Executive Chairman – World Economic Forum


Lets fasten our seatbelt and get ready for the ride!!! . I for one can’t wait to see what’s coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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