BarnOwl Info Sharing session: 25 August 2016
The Evolution of Competition: Beyond the Red Queen
Presented by Mark Casey, Deloitte Director and Global TMT Executive
We were honoured to have Mark Casey, the leader of Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industry for Africa and more recently the leader of Deloitte’s global Media sector present to us.
What a brilliant presentation. Seriously thought provoking stuff and the audience like myself was spell bound. Thank you Mark for your time and insights.
The title of the presentation may not be obvious. The red queen is a reference to Lewis Carroll‘s fantasy novel, Through the Looking-Glass (Alice in Wonderland). The following interaction between the Red Queen and Alice explains the essence of Mark’s presentation on competition and innovation: “Well, in our country”, said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Most of us in business think we are being innovative and being competitive by just leap-frogging our competitors. This is ‘just keeping up’. To be innovative a quantum leap needs to be made. Mark used the cell phone industry as an example demonstrating how each of the cell phone providers competed by leap-frogging one another based on ‘Price’ and Performance’. From 2003 Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry (RIMS) competed based on price and performance. In 2007 Apple came along with a ground-breaking vision to put their Apple Mac in a phone. This was an innovative leap well beyond sms (BBM) and phone calls to web, apps, music, photos etc. The rest is history… our children don’t even know who Nokia, Blackberry and Motorola were!
One can see all around us how fast technology is changing and the impact that it has not only on our businesses but on our personal lives as well. The ‘more 4 less’ revolution seems to be getting faster and faster. What is frightening is that ‘more 4 less’ fast becomes ‘more 4 free’. So the asset that your company is invested in (be it product or service) today will probably become a freely available asset in the not too distant future (sooner than you think). As a business we need to make money out of what we have today (with continued investment, marketing and leapfrogging ‘innovation’ etc.) however we must not be blind to what is around the corner. We need a strategy for the future that will ensure that we stay relevant and stay in business when today’s asset becomes free. This is a serious challenge both for big business which has so much investment in existing product and services and for small business which does not have freely available R&D funds and can’t afford to make any mistakes or back the wrong horse.
Imagine when you can ask the likes of Siri for professional advice on almost anything from legal, to medical, to consulting etc. Imagine how todays’ professionals be they lawyers, insurance brokers, GP’s, consultants will need to adapt their service offerings when heuristic (Artificial Intelligence) computers and robots know more in 1 minute than what a professional has taken 10 years to learn (and has forgotten half of what he / she has learnt if it is still relevant).
Look at the way banks have changed from bricks and mortar to online and now more recently ‘Blockchain’ which is set to revolutionise banking and contract / transactional settlements across geographies and jurisdictions. Not to mention the IoT (internet of Things), Cloud computing, robotics, Artificial Intelligence etc.
Mark certainly gets one thinking. Anyone who is a member of a board / exco should hear Mark’s presentation. Not only was the content of Mark’s presentation brilliant but even more brilliant was the way in which Mark delivers his presentation.
You can download Mark’s presentation here and download a video of the session here. Once again thank you Mark for your most enlightening presentation and to all those who braved the traffic to come to BarnOwl’s info sharing event.
Written by: Jonathan Crisp
Director – BarnOwl GRC and Audit software
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