Businesses in Britain and across the world are only just beginning to touch on the impact technology is having on operations, routes to market, and how leaders behave. This year’s Global Leadership Summit focused on “Generation Tech”; a broad and deep subject matter that touched upon the multi-faceted way technology is impacting businesses, societies and individuals.

One of the key takeaways I got was that business needs to be agile in adopting the latest shifts in technology in order to be more responsive to consumers. Technology can often be seen as a disruptor to the established order of things and this can breed a resistance to change. Companies that fail to change are doomed to failure. Paraphrasing LBS Professor Gary Hamel, “CEOs who are personally resistant to change fail their employees, shareholders and customers”.

Therefore, it is imperative that companies from various sectors be agile in adopting the shifting sands of technology. This does not mean a “technology first” approach but rather using technological gains as part of a business leader’s toolkit. As Royston Seaward, Partner at Deloitte said, “organisations think too much about their product and not enough about how their customers want to use that product”. So beware: don’t put the cart before the horse!

Business leaders who are in service industries are only now waking up to the immense power big data and the analysis that comes from that can be used in providing personalised services for their customers. Those who are at the vanguard of this create a competitive advantage for their businesses. What it takes is for the combination of available technology and old-fashioned intuition and risk-taking.

The businesses that will be successful in the future are those who are agile enough to see where the power rests in their sectors and then utilising the right “toolkit” to take advantage of this. Professor Julian Birkinshaw was particularly persuasive in identifying the changes in the computing and car manufacturing sectors over the last few decades and how easily it can be for today’s established companies to be tomorrow’s minnows. Business leaders need to take a macro view of their sector and identify where the particular points are in the value chain that control the most power: influence, bargaining etc, and how they can bring the resources at their disposable to take advantage of these areas.

The final point I want to bring up is the impact GenY will have on businesses. This generation is the first that has been brought up with emerging technology and a globalised marketplace where the tyranny of distance has been defeated by the ease of the internet. GenY employees (and future leaders) are more flexible and place greater emphasis on corporate missions than Baby Boomers or GenX. The challenge for GenY is how to take this inherent risk-tolerance and combine it with the steely resolve needed to be successful business leaders. The future of business will be ‘mission-first’ with a greater emphasis on their purpose and product generation than quarterly results. This means how we picture business leaders will need to shift: if you are an existing business leader you must recognise than a GenY rival is more prepared to use (social) media to promote their mission and to quickly build up brand awareness. So don’t be complacent!

London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit was an outstanding success and demonstrates the power of having in one room academic, business and social leaders bouncing around ideas and views with each other. Businesses are facing increasing strains from diverging social, technological and demographic trends so this year’s summit was particularly important to creating the right framework to approach “Generation Tech”. I am certain that next year’s summit will be just as interesting as this one!

8 Responses to “Business is only touching on the tech revolution”

  1. avatar CAStuff says:

    I agree with this article. THis matter is actually overhyped in current decade. I mean.. Everybody.. Means.. Everybody. Let’s not talk about nagetive thigns..! Leave it.

  2. avatar oregoncranberry says:

    I think business is advertising for tech

  3. avatar María Reina says:

    As a previous president of the Printing Companies Association , I am amble to admit that what you said is fully true. Affected for the tech evolution and the paperless culture, those companies have to change complete the business model…
    What I said now as a consultant , the tech revolution obliges the companies to thing in new human resources capabilities for the company to be able to cope with the new consumer.. With the Gen Y , with the new business models.
    It is time to change the strategy, the way to market, the way to produce to gain EBITDA saving steps at productive chain

  4. avatar Orlando says:

    You have very amazingly describe about tech revolution. I am agree with your topic that business is now touching tech revolution.

  5. avatar sreng vichhay says:

    I agree with this article. Technology is the key of business success nowadays

  6. avatar Bob Tenant says:

    Quite natural.. really. Technology, in it’s general translation is constantly evolving and revolutionizing upon itself. At the same time humans as species advance utilizing the discovered technology. For business, being a most influential part in our society will naturally evolve as well to make use of humanity’s progress.

    Othern than being obvious, though, there isn’t really wrong, you’re spot on most observations.

    Companies that haven’t gone electronic, relying on computation power, access to information and digital communication are certainly doomed.
    If you look at the timeline fifteen years ago, people hardly had less access to computers and the Internet, than they do now, when internet is in everyone’s pocket and we use it for most of our day.