Change isn’t a choice
Fundamental to Jesper’s presentation was the concept of disruption as an inevitability, rather than disparate events that only impact some industries.
“Things are changing so quickly. Small businesses have a real advantage with the ability of agility. They’re smaller, they don’t have the bureaucracy, they don’t have the same amount of risk to manage,” says Jesper.
“[Small businesses] are really at the forefront of change and being able to respond and do different things.”
This ability to be agile is a huge competitive advantage, says Jesper, as once you’re behind it’s harder to catch up, leading to a commoditisation of your product and leading to decisions made based on a fear of survival instead of sound strategic thinking.
Analogue vs. digital
Moore’s Law – the observation that processing power doubles every couple of years – means that analogue thinking can no longer be applied to digital problems, making the importance of a digital strategy and different ways of thinking integral to success.
“If we think the same but do something different, it fails,” says Jesper.
Technology is an enabler to better business, but finding new ways of working requires a whole new set of thinking. In an analogue world, you’re constrained by limited resources, more difficulty in standardisation and replication by external sources is more challenging.
Digital iterations of a product, however, don’t need the same resources, every product is identical and the ability to duplicate is exponentially easier. Understanding this concept is integral to understanding Jesper’s core message for businesses looking to get digital: “Digitising analogue is not the same as creating a digital capability.”
Find the dot
For businesses to be truly successful, Jesper argues, it’s important to realise the importance of simplicity –remaining true to the original idea in the face of evolution.
“It’s really about being crystal clear about what’s important,” says Jesper.
“And for small businesses this is actually a really interesting question because small businesses tend to want to do everything themselves as much as they can.
“That’s really the old way of working. The new way of working is prioritising what’s most important, and what’s not important, [and finding] another organisation that finds that important.
“The entire concept of collaboration and procreation is really going to take hold.”
Understanding what’s important – the “dot” of the business – can become convoluted among everything that gets added on to the business as it grows. To keep the “dot” alive, it’s important to continually ask why you do things, and whether that is still the core of your offering.
Being able to adapt, to understand the new business ecosystem and remain true to your businesses core ethos can seem challenging, if not overwhelming. But by establishing what’s important versus what’s urgent, it’s possible to protect your competitive advantage and help evolve the business rather than simply growing it.