DISRUPTION: Do we need to disrupt legacy and who’s already doing it?

Susie Stokes

Legacy is the antithesis of innovation, but in the future will companies need to interrupt their legacy to move forward? And, what’s worse, you might ask. Breaking legacy or becoming history? As part of this years theme of Legacy TEDxSydney explores if legacy and disruption work together…

With technological innovations increasing at an exponential rate, how do companies respond (or not respond) to a changing landscape? Do they become consigned to the history books like these businesses too slow to respond to change, Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders, Toys “R” Us; or break with their legacy and innovate?

In his TED Talk Patrick Forth talks about how disruption is “changing the clock speed from linear to exponential and it’s changing the speed of take-up of new business and the speed of innovation”.

“Power is changing hands faster than ever before. Companies are rising to the billion dollar mark faster than ever before and falling from multi-billion dollar valuations more quickly than we have ever seen” – says Amin Toufani.

The speed of pick-up is increasing, the time it took Facebook to acquire 50 million customers was 3 years and 8 months, but WhatsApp only took 15 months, followed by a record 15 days by Angry Birds.

Similarly, with traditional workplaces being disrupted by the gig economy – “Work is becoming more fluid,” says Soren Trampedach Founder and CEO of Work Club Global, a TEDxSydney Partner.  Research from Morgan Stanley even shows in the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, freelance growth has outpaced overall employment growth.

Instead of the traditional sub-leasing of space with restrictive minimum terms, disruption has led to unique, boutique solutions to the challenges posed by the rapid pace of change in the working environment. Work Club Global has gone a step further cultivating a community of innovators enabling people from different industries to benefit from diversity in thinking, in spaces across 10 countries.

Work Club Global creates this friction for inspiration and exploration through Florence Guild, a hive for interaction, collaboration and creation. With a series of events including: monthly hero speakers, facilitated networking events and cocktail affairs.

So what’s the MVP of disruptors? Professor Clay Christensen states that a truly disruptive business starts with a low-quality product, then ultimately covers the mainstream market by improving quality. Developing a basic offering for those who want a simple substitute, in the case of Digital Nomads they need an office anything from 1 hour to 24 hours a day/week/month.

A prime example of a disruptive business pivoting to remain relevant in the face of changing consumer needs is Netflix. On a trajectory to leave its own mark on history – with 120 million subscribers around the world and more Emmy nominations than any other entity — 112 — from 40 different series! But if they don’t disrupt themselves they in turn could be disrupted.

But businesses need to think bigger than just innovating and take their business model to the next level. In the future, companies with the most power will be ecosystems – the best example right now is WeChat from China – with Google and Facebook that are working towards creating their own ecosystems.

For companies reluctant to lose their hard worked-for legacy, remember it’s more about trust than a legacy in the traditional sense, using it to add credibility to your business. And, brand will become more important than ever in this new future – as an essential way to distinguish yourself in this new disrupted market.

Join us on a unique and extraordinary journey to exciting initiatives that are shaping the future. Join us at the LEGACY 10th Anniversary of TEDxSydney.

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