The best strategy to adopt new technologies is diving right into them. In the digital world, that means using new tools as soon as they’re released, subscribing to new networks that get attention, downloading mobile apps that get traction, following startups that have the potential to disrupt your business. However, most businesses do the opposite. They are simply not aware of what’s new or they are not taking what’s happening in front of their eyes seriously.
When Twitter launched back in 2006, most people were joking about it. You might remember some of your friends saying things like: ‘I don’t need to let everyone know that I’m eating a pizza’ or ‘I’m not interested in knowing that you’re waiting for the bus’. If you advised business people to start using Twitter during the early days, they would have laughed at you. Today, even CEO’s of international companies are using the platform to connect with their audiences. On top of that, Twitter went public in just a few years time.
“The main thing that has caused companies to fail, in my view, is that they missed the future,” Larry Page – CEO of Google
Some people and businesses massively benefited from being an early adopter to the Twitter platform. They understood the mechanics and built up a following before the masses joined. It gave them a head start in their businesses. The same thing happened with Facebook and nowadays history is repeating itself with things like Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat. It is happening to more than just social media though; drones, virtual reality, 3D printing, smart glasses, etc. are all in their early adopter stages. Most people are making fun of these things instead of looking into the opportunities. Instead of learning from the past they are again making the same mistake. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to look into new technologies much faster. Not to be part of the hype, but to anticipate potential disruptions and opportunities.
What businesses should be doing is allocating significant budget to experiment with new technologies internally: different types of platforms, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, apps, 3D printing, virtual reality, etc. Take the time to explore these digital evolutions together with your team. Discuss their potential, think of possible business models and try to grasp their real value. Maybe they’ll never go mainstream, but once they go big, you are ready to ride the waves. Don’t wait until things have matured, otherwise you’ll lose momentum.
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