Beware of illusive trends, re-imagine boundaries, and be the disruptor | Techsauce

Beware of illusive trends, re-imagine boundaries, and be the disruptor


Slingshot Group Founder Gabor George Burt warns companies to beware of illusive trends and wake up to the need to re-imagine boundaries to remain relevant.

Every year it is about the latest trends and buzzwords.  Whether it be Blockchain or Machine Learning, companies make sure to be aware of them.  However knowing the direction of the future may ultimately at the end block companies from reaching their full potential instead of benefiting from knowing the direction of the market.

Companies in different industries tend to develop the same way because they are following the same trends.  This is biggest stumbling block to staying relevant according to Gabor George Burt, the founder of Slingshot Group, USA and author of “Slingshot: Re-imagine Your Business, Re-imagine Your Life", a book that has changed the way many corporations strategize.

At VMWare CIO Forum 2018 in Singapore Burt told chief information officers (CIO)s the only way to evolving digital mindsets is to focus on the customer constantly.  In a VUCA world where unfavorable factors volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity threaten companies, it is important to always be in tune with the customer.  Burt says this does not mean you need new inventions.  What you need is innovation.

Burt gave a simple example of how a pillow concert succeeded in being a memorable experience without the need to invent anything new.  By having concert goers sitting comfortably with pillows instead of chairs the company was able to do 3 key things that Burt says is the key to staying relevant.  The first thing was to solve the point of friction, which was the restrictive wooden chairs that did not guarantee a good view.  By giving pillows to the audience and the option to find the most comfortable sitting, the concert company solved the point of friction.  Second, was innovating on existing tools without the need to create a new invention.  The concert only used regular pillows to elevate the concert experience.  Third, instead of thinking of the regular customer experience, the concert company expanded what is regularly perceived as the usual customer experience. 

This concept of taking what you already have and innovating it to the next level is what we are seeing in successful companies around the world that do not have to that old in the business.  Examples are Skype, Google, and AirBnB.  Disrupters also can come from anywhere, whether it be China, Australia, or Eastern Europe.

From Blue Oceans to Blue Waters

After launching his revolutionary “Slingshot Framework” seven years ago, Burt says companies continue to struggle to leave their comfort zones and dare to disrupt their markets, rather than being the ones being disrupted. 

Powerpoint by Gabor George Burt

The goal for companies according to him are to progress through three key concepts:

  1. Blue Lake: This is the basic level where companies refresh what they are already with the assumption that it has ongoing relevance.  That is to identify the customers’ pain points and turn them into points of delight and infatuation. 
  2. Blue Sea: Find out how you can expand to a broader space by stretching the definition of what you do to give more value to your target customers.
  3. Blue Ocean: Create something new completely.  This is the scariest stage for companies who may want to stay in the comfort of what they know instead of trying something new.  Burt says this is the stage where companies embrace innovation shortcuts and combine components in a new way.  This is what we are seeing in the digital age.

There is something even beyond lakes, seas, and oceans as well.  Quoting leadership expert, Steven Denning, Burt says the ultimate goal is to create blue waters that are not restricted to being oceans, seas, or lakes. 

There is no such thing as mature industries with only slow growth possibilities.  There are merely industries in which management has yet to apply imagination.

Multiply the joy and divide the pain

The most important thing according to Burt are in the words of American author Dave Grossman,

The human equation is to multiply the joy and divide the pain. Pain shared is pain divided; joy shared is joy multiplied.

The key is to share a relationship with others in the market and the consumer to bring about positive experiences and avoid “painful experiences” that are costly.

There is a tipping point for every customer’s patience with any company.  A 2013 Accenture study found angry customers in the United States cost companies $5.9 trillion or 1/3 of the GDP of country.  51% of US consumers change companies switch companies due to poor experiences such as having to contact the company many times for a problem, waiting too long for service, and having inconsistent service.  Burt says this even applies to successful companies such as Starbucks which has not been able to properly address its pain point of the complications in ordering a drink.

The secret recipe for staying relevant

  1. Identify the pain point: Learn and identify consumer pain point, turn them into points of delight and infatuation.
  2. Stretch what you do: Expand on what you do for new market space and relevance.
  3. Take the Innovation Shortcut: Create values inside and outside your company that do not yet exist.

Take aim, let fly

Just like losing weight, there is no one-time solution for companies to staying relevant.  It is an ongoing process of daring yourself to re-imagine your boundaries constantly to disrupt rather than be disrupted.  Burt challenges companies to “Take aim, let fly.  Repeat.”

Hungry for more knowledge? 

Techsauce Global Summit 2018 is the place for you as this year on June 22-23, 2018  companies and startups from around the Southeast Asian region and beyond are gathering at Centara Grand, Bangkok to exchange innovative ideas on how to change corporate digital mindsets and expand their networks.  Other than workshops at the event, during the week of the summit, Techsauce is partnering with world leading accelerator Techstars, to hold VIP meetings among corporates to learn and grow together.  Get special early-bird prices by going to:

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