Manifesting Growth in a Digitally Disrupted VUCA World

Manufacturing Prior to Digital Disruption

Clearly any business irrespective of size or stature, is faced with challenges related to volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). It could be argued that since the industrial revolution businesses have experienced ever increasing amounts of VUCA as rapid advances in manufacturing, technology, communication, transportation led to increased competition, global supply chains, deregulated financial markets and widespread digitalization. Any entrepreneur or business leader, irrespective of the industry they work in or the markets they operate in, understands that businesses have to exist in an environment, where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are the norm rather than the exception. The degree of VUCA may differ from company to company, from one industry to another or from one market to another.

What VUCA Really Means For You (HBR Jan/Feb 2014)

According to Jorge Lopez at Gartner, by 2020 more than 7 billion people and businesses, and at least 30 billion devices, will be connected to the Internet. With people, businesses and things communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, a new world has come into being — the world of digital business. The impact of this digital disruption on the business environment and eco-system is profound and game changing. The blurring of the physical and digital worlds has created the need for new business designs and models. Unprecedented convergence of people, processes and products (or things) has resulted in hitherto unseen levels of disruption and displacement — even in businesses born of the Internet and e-business eras. This is a whole new world that makes the prior ones obsolete while creating massive opportunities for those who can visualize and capitalize on the opportunity.

Today’s digital technologies offer myriad ways to connect, collaborate, conduct business and build bridges between people, processes and products. It touches the core of all business functions especially the ways in which organizations are managed and mentored. Digital technologies challenge existing business models and continue to exert tremendous pressure on traditional ecosystems by disrupting the linkages that bind people, processes and products.

The key driving forces of digital business are the seemingly inexhaustible capacity for innovation, the consumerization of IT and the proliferation of devices and mobile technologies, and the convergence and integration of marketing, ICT, social, business, etc. From a technology perspective, digital business goes beyond the famous third platform and the evolutions (or revolutions) we are witnessing today in technologies like cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, Big Data, etc. As technologies like mobile, social, cloud, and big data rapidly converge and morph, a digital business strategy that leverages digital technologies to transform the customer value equation and drive competitive advantage becomes a paramount requirement. You cannot have business transformation and growth without a well thought out digital business strategy. According to Gartner, digital business incompetence will cause 25% of business to lose competitive ranking by 2017. Digital disruption is real and growing globally — no company, no industry, no locale will be immune from its impact!

Unfortunately, we are no longer living in a VUCA world, we are living in a world where volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and digital disruption VUCA(DD) reign supreme. How we survive or thrive in this new VUCA(DD) world will be determined to a great extent by how we embrace this new paradigm of digital disruption. While this new reality holds great promise to those prepared for its challenges it can also be quite perilous to those ill-equipped to deal with an additional set of new challenges.

Companies that reposition themselves to take advantage of this new reality by deploying transformational strategies and tactics to overhaul their four key growth engines will thrive while others flounder or die. The key growth engines in any business are (in equal order of importance):

  • The People Engine
  • The Sales & Marketing Engine
  • The Innovation Engine
  • The Financial Engine.

The Sales & Marketing and Innovation Engines have a greater external impact on the business while the People and Financial Engines have a greater internal impact on the business. In our experience, just tweaking one engine or tinkering with various component parts of some of the engines gives you less than optimal results. Fixing (or repositioning), what is a complex, unique and evolved mechanism, by venturing in uninitiated or unprepared can be a recipe for disaster. Luckily, running good diagnostics and tests will better prepare you for the task ahead. Think its time to get your engines overhauled?

How We Create Growth

Love to hear and learn more about how your business has been impacted by Digital Disruption (DD). If you need your growth engines overhauled you can reach me at or at For more information or

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