Autonomous, Electric, and Shared. What’s the first thing you think of when you see these three words together?
For me, it’s the future of the auto industry. It’s just a matter of time—10 years, 20 years, perhaps sooner—until some version of today’s cars will be driving us, probably with a hybrid fuel source. Once the “Uberization” of cars is complete, maybe most of us won’t even own a car, and the vehicles we ride in will belong to a select few.
The larger question is, what other aspects of our lives and your business will be upended in similar fashion?
Everything from buying mattresses online to toothbrushes that monitor how clean our teeth are to vertically integrated direct to consumer models like Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club reveals that every industry is in some state of evolution.
So, what does this mean to you if you are running a business or work at an industry association or professional society. What will be the catalyst for you to see the light before you feel the heat?
Don’t assume that you’ll be retired before the change happens and also don’t assume that because your constituents are architects or physicians, accountants or electricians, that you are immune—there is nowhere for any of us to hide.
Three things to consider:
1. What is a comparable business or product category that is undergoing rapid change that you can study as a canary in the coal mine for your industry? For example, what can you learn from Walmart’s decision to buy Bonobos? Why does Walmart want to experiment with showrooming? What’s this mean for your audience?
2. Ask yourself, will you be the first choice for whatever product or service you provide? When we soon live in an AI-assisted world and the majority of your members or customers ask Alexa who has the best conference, education, advice, and offering that meets their exact needs, what will she say?
3. Who is in charge of thinking about what would put your organization out of business? Someone in your organization has to think like a fierce, hungry competitor. Better yet, get advice from an outsider who isn’t steeped in the culture, and who doesn’t have the blinders that keep the newest ideas from being taken seriously.
My advice is to host strategy sessions at your next conference. Invite a very specific selection of people and lead them through a guided process that reveals the threats, opportunities, and blind spots that will lead to you the insights that answer the above questions.
Never a better time than the present to get started.