What business strategies are necessary for dealing with digital disruption? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
This is a question that we addressed in our previous book, Digital Vortex, and expanded in Orchestrating Transformation. We have identified four strategies for responding to digital disruption: Harvest, Retreat, Disrupt, and Occupy. We refer to these, collectively, as the Strategic Response Playbook. The first two options are defensive strategies—they help to enhance or protect existing business lines. Defensive strategies are used to fend off value vampires, as well as more modest threats, and to maximize the useful lifespan of businesses under attack.
The Harvest strategy is about learning from disruptors and improving core products and services. It can also involve blocking the disruptor, as we have seen with responses to disruptors like Uber and Airbnb. The Retreat strategy is really about deciding when to exit a sector under attack, or moving into a niche area where it is very hard for the disruptor to enter. Both Harvest and Retreat are very important approaches to extend the lifespan of a business under disruptive attack.
Occupy is the battle win in the new marketplace created by disruption. Who is going to win the music streaming battle? Spotify looks in good shape, but it faces heady competition from Apple, Amazon, Google, Deezer, and others. Disruptors like Spotify do not always win the day. This is the Occupy battle. The final strategy is Disrupt, which is when a new technology or business model significantly impacts a sector by creating new forms of cost, experience, or platform value for customers.
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