Is Disruption the key to success?
(Before proceeding forward, I wish to clarify the views are of my own and opinion of individuals may vary)
The definition of Disruption means the action of preventing something, especially a system, process, or event, from continuing as usual or as expected. The resultant of Disruption varies with the surroundings and the extent of disruption implied. Some disruptions are a must and leads to progress of civilization whereas some may lead to not so beneficial social outcome and/ or social unrest.
The disruptions which are leading to the betterment of human being but not at the cost of social unrest or natural unrest is always welcome. The disruptions which are a necessity in some countries/ geographies may lead to social unrest in another. Many companies are now getting into self-regulatory features to minimize the role of technology in the societal downsides.
Imagine tomorrow all taxis in Mumbai or Bangalore is upgraded to driverless taxis. Surely, we all will be excited and would want to book a ride for the experience but at the same time we need to think of the flip side what happens to the drivers who drove the taxis for years. We created a new ecosystem but may create a social unrest if the change is not properly taken care of, as this may lead to chaos, job loss and killing multiple ecosystems with the ripple effect like the small tea stalls where the drivers use to park and have tea etc. This same disruption maybe a welcome move in some European countries. Similarly, if pizzas are delivered using drones tomorrow, it would be a welcome move but it may not bring in happiness to the boy who used to deliver pizzas before drones took over.
Nowadays, innovation is tagged along disruptions. Innovation means a new idea or method, and many use it in place of disruption.
If we go through the columns of leading business dailies, a sense of social unrest can be observed in the traditional FMCG supply chain segment. The disruptive technologies being introduced only at selective links, like warehousing or distribution or point of sale, in the entire traditional supply chain has shifted the game in the favour of financially and technologically superior players. This is disruption to the sufferers and innovation for the gainers. For the small players, the fear of getting replaced or minimized is evident in the wholesale business and the last mile retail touch points. Looking from their perspective, the fear is genuine and multi-fold, fear of losing out to aggregators with technology superiority, deep pockets, deep discounts, marketing reach, etc. But the question is, how do we address these challenges? Some of the challenges need to be addressed at policy level and taken up at the right forums. In a populous country like India where unemployment is a major issue, noble ideas which leads to disruptions or consolidation at the cost of entrepreneurship or self-employment may cause social unrest. To address the social challenges a deep understanding of the social ecosystem is required. And, an approach which leads to empowerment and upgrade of the impacted rather than causing heartburn maybe the way forward to bring in positive change in a country like India.
(By Debarshi Dutta. The author is the co-Founder and CEO of Ayekart Fintech)