Subscribe to industry newsletters

Advertise on Bizcommunity

Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Five digital disruptive Frisbees (and how they affect your bottom line)

Andy Haldane, Executive Director for Financial Stability at the Bank of England in tackling regulation uses the analogy of a dog catching a Frisbee. His major insight is that simple approaches are more effective at managing complex systems than complex approaches in a world of uncertainty. A dog does not focus on all the complex systems that are needed to catch a flying Frisbee. He simply never lets the Frisbee out of his sight; the complexity then seems to fall into place as he jumps for the catch.
The digital space as a whole is a disruptive force all by itself, but in order to assess its true effects on business, it should be dissected into its various integral parts. I believe that there are five Frisbees that we need to look at when trying to succeed in our digital efforts.

Five disruptive forces in the digital world that are shaping the rest of the world. These are social, mobile, data, e-commerce and connected objects.



Being social creatures, people quickly realised that digital connectivity enabled them to communicate more conveniently and quickly with whomever they wanted. This included brands whom they had never had unrestricted access to before. Thus, brands whom have embraced social media, and the new customer, have correctly recognised the very important fact that customers are done with quietly being on the receiving end of whatever the brand feeds them. Social networking has given everyone a voice, and once that happened, there was no putting that toothpaste back in its tube.

Success in social is not about a presence on social media platforms but rather leveraging relationship. Learning to use people-to-people connection to deepen relationships and influence people's lifestyles accordingly.



This disruptive force is fascinating, as not only did it initially disrupt the very concept of communication, but it also continuously disrupts itself as it is ever-evolving. Not only do mobile phones allow for levels of communication never experienced before, but more importantly, it has changed the consumers themselves.

Mobile changed the context of digital engagements; it helped people turn any physical experience into a digital experience. Businesses that are succeeding in their mobile venture are focusing on the context of their mobile engagement rather than the content they deliver in their mobile experience.



Never before have we had so much information so readily available at our fingertips. Brands can now learn vital information about their potential customers by simply knowing how to analyse the data in front of them correctly.

This means that consumers now have the power to dictate their own shopping experience. Informed consumers can choose the volume and type of information they share online. Rather than a brand trying to shape the public into the perfect customer, brands how have to understand correctly what it is their customers want, and then give it to them.

Companies succeeding in data usage are using their data resources to provide better products, services, and more personalised customer experiences to the market.



E-commerce is gaining strength in South Africa in recent years, with an increasing number of established online stores having proved themselves to consumers. We have also seen a number of traditionally brick-and-mortar stores opening online stores as part of global and local expansion initiatives.

In its simplest explanation, e-commerce is the ability to make transactions in the online arena. This simple technology has grown up a lot in the desktop and B2C world. Today we see the need to improve thinking across mobile commerce, mobile payments and integrated online and brick and mortar purchasing experiences.


Connected Objects (Internet of Things)

This exciting disruptive force is taking the digital world, which has always been decidedly separate to the physical world, and firmly integrating it into an individual's everyday existence. Connected objects are essentially any object, be it an appliance, watch or utensil, which is connected to other objects via the internet. This is referred to as machine-to-machine (m2m) connection.

If social media connects people, then The Internet of Things connects objects to objects and people to objects.

Through the m2m connection, people can now live in the digital realm full-time. For businesses, this disruptive force means that product delivery, product design, customer experience - and almost every single aspect of the business - can change to become more productive, more useful - and ultimately more profitable.

So there you have it, five Frisbees to keep your eye on to succeed in the digital world.

To read more about how we applied the five disruptive forces into the Retail Industry visit DigitLab for the latest #DigitLabInsight "The Future State of Retail".

About Mike Saunders

Mike Saunders is the CEO of DigitLab, an international speaker, and has had the privilege of working with some of the worlds most prestigious organisations including Vodafone, IBM, Microsoft, KPMG, Norton Rose, Mr Price, Toyota and Exxaro. Along with his experience in business, Mike has also contributed to leadership programmes for Gordon's Institute of Business (GIBS).