How To Escape “Technological Panic”
Are you worried that you’re falling behind technologically and your competitors are gaining advantages over you because of it? While it’s true that new technologies can commoditize — or even completely erase — very well-established businesses and industries, you don’t have to suffer from what I call “Technological Panic.”
If you keep strengthening your relationships with clients and your understanding of how you create value for them, you’ll always have all the information you need to navigate technological change.
Your perspective on this may be different depending on the nature of your industry. Some specialties aren’t technologically based and will exist no matter what networks, systems, or machines are invented. For entrepreneurs in these industries, it’s a matter of adopting technology to stay relevant to clients and create perceived value — for instance, a financial advisor who provides a live online portfolio.
Other industries are at greater risk of “creative destruction,” like the producers of calculators, watches, and film cameras. Kodak is a great example of a company that let themselves get technologically blindsided: Although they invented the digital camera, they considered it a toy because they were wedded to the idea of film. At the beginning of 2011, the former corporate giant filed for Chapter 11.
That’s the kind of story that creates technological panic.
Yet, whether or not your business is based on technology, your greatest solutions won’t come from any product or service, but from your constant ability to address your clients’ evolving D.O.S.®:
- Dangers they’re afraid of and want to eliminate.
- Opportunities they’re excited about and want to capture.
- Strengths they feel confident about and want to maximize.
Understanding your clients’ D.O.S. issues is the biggest protection you can have against any kind of external disruption. D.O.S. also gives you a lens through which you can look at any technology and immediately determine whether it will be useful to you.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines for achieving peace of mind in a world of never-ending technological breakthroughs:
One adjustment we need to make is simply to accept that we now live in a technology-based world where an endless flow of new technologies is a normal part of everyday life.
With a new technology, it may look like nothing’s happening for a long time, but then it will suddenly take off. This is the nature of exponential multipliers — so it helps to get informed about relevant technologies that might be approaching this stage. A great primer on this way of thinking and some of the developments that may be closer to fruition and proliferation than you think is Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
When it comes to the decision about whether to adopt a technology, it’s helpful to remember that, generally, a new technology isn’t useful for anybody until it’s useful for everybody — when everyone can use it easily, economically, and without special training.
The vast majority of new technologies fail in the marketplace. They’re experiments on the way to something better. So you may want to wait for the grandchildren of any new device or system.
Whether a technology is useful depends on the goals and purposes of the individuals using it. If you’re clear about how you create value and solve D.O.S. issues, you can confidently pick and choose from the innovations that will further your own relationship- and wisdom-based capabilities.
If you want to take a ride into the future, join us in January 2014 for the Abundance 360 Summit with Peter Diamandis — a forum on the technologies that are about to change the world. The event will take place on January 9 and 10 in Marina Del Rey, California. You can find out more on the Abundance 360 website, and in the meantime, you can hear Peter’s latest thoughts on his blog or read his book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
Illustration by Hamish MacDonald.