CEO Series

Why Entrepreneurs Must Actively Become Their Own Disrupter—Or Die

There were some world class speakers early this month at the GECommunity—the movers and shakers of the entrepreneurship scene.

From Bill Rancic of The Apprentice fame to Emil Micheal of Uber, their international insight into businesses both as players and advisors was instrumental for anyone who plans to run their business on a worldwide arena.

One invited speaker was professional speaker and business advisor Jon Duschinsky, leader of The Conversation Farm.

“The company I run does behaviour change,” said Jon at his talk in GECommunity. “That’s what we specialise in. Let’s say we have people who are not funding a disease and people who are dying from a disease. We shift behaviours so we have a cure for the disease.

Alternatively, we have people who are driving badly and we shift behaviours so that they drive a little bit better. We spend a lot of time with people, trying to understand people and what drives us.”

In fact, the viral Ice Bucket Challenge was the ingenious brainchild of this company, bringing in awareness and donations for ALS and contributing to the research around the disease. A significant breakthrough identifying a gene related to ALS was also attributed to the success of the campaign.

The World Keeps Moving Faster

Image Credit: Flickr

“The world has never moved this fast, it will never ever move this slowly again.

Industries across the world are being disrupted. They are being disrupted by ideas from left field, channels you never expected. How we go about thinking and challenging ourselves,” he said.

A classic example of disruption?

“One guy in Silicon Valley decided to put a camera into a phone and suddenly Kodak was no longer a thing.

The reality is that disruption is such a common part of the world that we live in today. It’s such a powerful people generated idea and movement that we need to disrupt or we will become the next Kodak,” said Jon.

Jon then delved into the new reality of entrepreneurship today, showing us the difference between today’s economic principles and what he foresees as tomorrow’s economic principle.

“The education system that taught us was made during the industrial revolution. It was made to equip us with the skills that we need to operate the machines to run the industrial revolution.

But in the world today, we don’t need workers. We need thinkers. We need a new education system for people to create, than people who just move things along.

Ingenuity becomes the driver of tomorrow’s economic model. That leads to value creation, and to better quality of life because eventually, you look for quality of life,” he said.

Disruption Is A Subtle Art

Jon Duschinsky at GECommunity 2016

So therein lies the question.

“If you’re in here and you’re an incumbent (run a company), you’re going to be disrupted. And the only constant today is change. So the only thing that I can guarantee is that somebody is going to disrupt you. And there’s a good chance you won’t see it coming because it’s likely that it will come from a different channel.”

He went back to Kodak and how the disrupter for that particular business came instead from someone in Silicon Valley who decided to put a camera into a phone and ruined Kodak as a result.

“So if you’re going to be disrupted, you better be the disrupter,” Jon concluded.

But then, we start to ask other questions. Once you’ve decided on disrupting, how do you actually go about doing it?

“We need to execute them properly because you’re not a disrupter on your own. You can stand in the corner and wave your arms as much as you like. You can take the greatest technology and put it out to a market and it could drop like a stone.

What makes the difference is people. Think about it, Steve Jobs. Innovative. Disruptive. He disrupted music, banking, etc. the list of industries that Apple disrupted is huge.”

The biggest factor however, lies in the relationships built with the brand Apple.

“I have an irrational relationship with this thing here,” he said, referring to his iPhone.

“You can get a perfectly good tablet for 100 dollars, why would you spend five to six hundred to get one made by Apple? Is it much better? Would it fulfil the same function? It probably would. But it’s not about function, it’s about purpose. And it’s not even so much about purpose, it’s about belief.

What made Apple a great disrupter is that people loved the brand, and created an irrational relationship with the brand. If you want to disrupt, you have to get many people to have an irrational relationship with you.”

The three steps to creating crowd engagement

The ALS movement actually began with Steve Gleeson, who was an NFL player. He became the disrupter of the movement by airing a video about spreading awareness about ALS during the Superbowl, where he put himself as a sufferer of ALS in front of the whole world.

From there, the silent sufferers of ALS had a reason to engage with him. The way they described the ALS symptoms were so horrifying that those who did not know about the disease otherwise finally paid attention. He became the sufferers’ champion.

During the height of this, one woman whose husband suffered from ALS poured a bucket of ice over herself because she was so exasperated by the thought that her husband was suffering so much that she couldn’t do anything about it.

She sent the video to Steve Gleeson, and eventually provided the catalyst for point 2: “Give them something fun to do”.

By giving participants of the Ice Bucket Challenge the option to either share the video or donate (or both), the public is given the tools to be ambassadors for change by spreading awareness and soliciting donations for ALS research.

It is natural for Jon to focus on the public, seeing that changing minds is his bread and butter.

But there is something to be gleaned here about how to become the disrupter once you have decided on disruption—how important it is to bring others into the mindset of your disruption before it can go anywhere.

Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) aims to build a Sustainable Entrepreneurship Ecosystem by catalysing creativity & innovation for long term nation impact. Organised by MaGIC, the first Global Entrepreneurship Community(GECommunity) event, #GECommunity2016 was held on the 8th and 9th of December 2016. You can follow MaGIC on Instagram and Twitter for live feeds and updates of the event:@magic_cyberjaya

Feature Image Credit: Global Entrepreneurship Community

 

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