The third, often forgotten, way to use digital tools

We have digital tools, yes. But what shall we have them for? And what can we even have them for? Shall we use them in order to increase productivity, or even do business development? Or, are there actually something even more interesting we can have them for? Here is the answer.

If we go back in time we can see how digital tools have been used in industry…

In its early days we mainly used them in order to increase productivity, making things faster, cheaper, more stable. But is still was processes we could recognize. On might claim that we still used them in order to continue to do what we already have done, but with higher degree of productivity compared to before.

Later on, around when we got the internet, we could start using digital tools for another purpose. I call it business development. And doing business development is about doing things we did not even do before. Meaning: it is something fundamentally different than working with productivity.

If you have happened to buy something via your smartphone, for instance at We-chat, you have stumbled on a good case of what I mean here. Using We-chat as a channel for sales is not mainly about increasing the productivity of a previously existing physical store, it´s about business development – achieving something we could not do, before.

In reality we still use, and still should use, digital tools for these two reasons in industry. We continuously need to increase productivity, and/or do business development, don´t we?

But, today, we can actually use digital tools in order to achieve something else/more: and that is disruption. Disruption is about developing a totally new business structure, not about increasing productivity nor about doing business development.

Do I only play with words here? No, actually not.

Because the thing is: when an industry is changing its structure, working on productivity and/or business development might not help you. Instead: what is needed when an industry is changing its structure is to figure out how the new game will look like.

Working with productivity and/or business development is only relevant during the time periods when your existing industry structure is fixed. And during times of disruption; it´s not.

 

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