It’s game on! Huge changes are coming for business, fast!


Directors Dan Druzianic from Hawke’s Bay and Paul Rickerby, Christchurch recently attended a week-long Harvard Business School leadership programme developed for international Moore Stephens directors, that built on a first programme they attended two years ago.

They returned brimming with new learnings about the challenges ahead for business and we share some of these here.

Overall, the key learning has been that your business should be constantly innovating to keep abreast of new technologies, trends, and business models – if not, you risk being swept away in the face of new business models that are disrupting entire industries now and in the future. Change is happening very fast.

  • Case studies on companies including Uber demonstrated how businesses are effectively developing new business models that are disrupting entire industries. For instance, of the 700 current Harvard MBA students, only half have a drivers’ licence and only half expect to ever own a car. The car manufacturing industry is grappling with the future implications of Uber, electric vehicles, and driverless vehicles.
  • Harvard studies have identified frameworks that help us understand what happens when a market is disrupted by different types of innovation. This helps industry new entrants and incumbents respond to change. One of the course Professors had a long career at General Motors and spent 14 years defending the disruption created by Toyota’s entry into the It’s game on! Huge changes are coming for business, fast!USA market (ultimately failing). He now realises that if these frameworks existed then, GM would have understood the likely outcomes and been much more successful.
  • Another Professor believes managers are no longer managing businesses. Given the increased workloads, responsibilities, and task-based work pressures today’s managers are under (compared with say 25 to 30 years ago), there is little time to think, reflect, strategise. And given the speed of changes already upon us, this is a threat for business.
  • There is critical need for managers to be disciplined to make time to develop their people. And to understand the influence of Millennials on culture in the workforce, as the expectations and motivations of these digital natives are very different from those who have come before.
  • The concept of ‘value-based strategy’ was presented, which had the Moore Stephens attendees fascinated.
  • We looked at Business Model frameworks – What makes up a business model and different types of business models. Be very clear on your value proposition, your resources, processes, and profit formula.
  • Megatrends likely to affect business in the short term:
    • Digitisation – for instance, cloud-based business opportunities and Artificial Intelligence – already present but the impending implementation will create huge changes in how business is done. For instance, another Professor stated that there is no task currently undertaken by a first or second year law graduate in America that cannot be done by an AI alternative. Closer to the Moore Stephens Markhams door, audit functions are likely to be disrupted by computer algorithms within five years.
    • Demographics – the aging population world-wide is creating new issues and opportunities. China is facing great challenges as its historic single child policy distorts its demography.
    • Parochialism – examples were provided of how the world is becoming more geo politically insular and inward-facing. It appears globalisation is at the end of a long expansion cycle and is set to retreat in the years ahead.
  • Pace of change
    • Plant-based ‘meat’ – Despite believing synthetic meat was some years away from the market, Dan and Paul experienced personally that plant-based burgers are now becoming a mainstream addition on restaurant menus in the USA. They were both surprised and somewhat concerned for the NZ meat industry; their Impossible brand burgers at a Boston sports bar, looked, smelt and tasted like ‘the real thing’. So much so, that vegetarians are regularly being convinced they’ve been served incorrectly.

Dan and Paul are keen to share their knowledge with clients and local professional colleagues. Feel free to have a chat if you’d like to learn more.

If you’d like to learn more about the Moore Stephens Leadership programme created by Harvard Business School, click the link, or view below:

Moore Stephens HBS from MSIL on Vimeo.

Published winter 2018.

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