When Will Innovation Disrupt Your Life?

How will market and technology changes impact you and your ability to earn a living?
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And, what will you do about it?
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This is more of a question for you to ponder than me giving you an answer. But like all things, you first have to know you have a problem before you can solve it. So let me state it for you.
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Something out there is killing your job today. It may be new technology that will make the need for your skills obsolete? Or is it a change in the market and the cost of getting your work done?
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You want to look away now, don’t you? No one wants to face up to the fact that their income stream might be in jeopardy. But disruptive innovations are impacting you today – even if you do look away.
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Source: Mashable.com

What are Disruptive innovations?
Changes in technology, products, or markets that disrupt people and industry. Or to say simpler, they put people out of work and companies in downward spirals.
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For example, the Amazon Kindle has changed those in the publishing world. iTunes has impacted those in music industry.
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When I am speaking to groups about innovation, people always tell me afterwards that they constantly work to keep up with new things. But are they missing it? What I usually hear is that we keep up with the micro changes in technology, but not the macro changes.
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Disruptive innovations come in 3 flavors
  1. Technology changes – These are the ones we see most often. These are things like upgrades to systems or new systems. Examples are things like smart phones. New technologies have pushed the old standard Blackberry in the dirt. The fact is, we often see these coming and someone on top of the game is ready. But, these technology changes are often smaller changes – therefore I call them micro changes, and we can see them coming.
  2. Process changes – These are more subtle and often confused with technology changes. For example, consider the Kindle. It was not so much the new technology. After all, we could already format documents and read them. Instead it was Amazon’s push to develop a new process to deliver the documents that caused the change. I distinguish this from technology because we all knew we could read PDFs and other documents on devices, yet many of us thought that the we would never really want to read books that way. It was the easy delivery process mixed with the pricing strategy that changed the game.
  3. Market changes – By market I mean the collective buying opinions of the people. This is where true disruptive innovation happens, and were we rarely see it coming. These are the macro changes. They can happen with what looks to be no warning. And while we are out there keeping up with the new technologies in our field, we may not realize our field has changed due he market forces.
For example, imagine years ago you were a typewriter repair expert. You were well trained and kept up with the technology of typewriters – gearing mechanisms, etc. You had seen the technology changes of those toys made by those little companies called Microsoft and Apple and you had seen some process changes related to printing/copy machines. But, you never saw it coming that suddenly your market space, and your entire skill set, was going away. It was not the technology or the process, it was that the market slowly began to adapt, and then without warning it was over.
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We try to keep up with changes – but it is a hard thing to do. True changes rarely happen in the large companies, they instead happen on the fringes. Crazy ideas and toys that you and I say we do not have the time to mess with because we are busy. That is where the fringes live.
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Are you like me? A few years ago I was deleting request to be part of LINKEDIN. I do not have time for that. And what about Facebook and Twitter. Many have still not accepted Twitter as a force to be reckoned with.
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Question: This all leads to a key question I was asked the other day. “How do we keep up with and become aware when we are busy doing our jobs?” How do you do it?