I expressed in a previous column my firm belief that exponential technologies will soon disrupt practically every aspect of our lives--including whatever business you're in--within the next three to 10 years.
Some enterprises will become extinct, while others will adapt and survive. You must prepare now if you want to be among the latter.
What can you do specifically to improve your survival odds when the revolution comes into full swing?
Step No. 1: Become aware of, and stay informed on, every technology that can possibly impact your business.
Even though you can't adopt everything that comes along, you must at least be aware of what's out there. My firm for example, has always been focused on finding or creating the best technology possible, and we're always willing to upgrade when it makes sense to do so.
If you're not tech-savvy, then hire people who are. (That's what I do.) Meanwhile, educate yourself as much as you can. Reading tech publications and websites, attending tech conferences and exhibitions, and conferring with peers are all effective.
Some fascinating innovation in the field of medicine illustrates the importance of embracing changes in technology. It has implications for my business--and I suspect it does for yours as well.
Remember the tricorder? Dr. McCoy used this little handheld device in Star Trek to diagnose illnesses and injuries. Today, competition is underway to develop a real version. Experts say it will likely attach to your smartphone: You'll place a speck of blood or saliva on it, and it will read your vital signs and functions and upload the data to an app that will link to your doctor in real time--allowing him or her to diagnose your condition and prescribe treatment.
Then there's Watson, the IBM supercomputer that defeated some top Jeopardy champions. That was in 2011. Nowadays, Watson is becoming an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Experts says Watson will soon be an app on your cellphone, giving you free, instant access to the equivalent of several board-certified physicians.
Will such developments put physicians out of work?
I don't believe so. But I do believe these innovations will dramatically change how doctors serve patients. For example, you won't have to make an appointment and wait days to see your physician. You won't have to sit in a crowded waiting room, then wait days for test results. Technology will make access faster. It will certainly change how doctors work--but it certainly won't make them obsolete.
Advanced technology will have implications for your business, too. Consider what's coming now instead of worrying about it later. Look for ways that tech products and services can help make your business faster, easier or cheaper for your customers.
If you delay, you could find that your competitors have left you too far behind to catch up.
In future columns, I'll offer other ways you can prepare for the radically different business landscape of the future--a future that's coming fast.