March 1, 2019

5 Market-Shaking Disruption Drivers in 2020 and Beyond

March 1, 2019

5 Market-Shaking Disruption Drivers in 2020 and Beyond

Business Strategy, Disruption

The business landscape is constantly evolving. With the speed of digital innovation increasing constantly, what impact will disruption have on your business in 2019?

We asked this very question to 100+ industry leaders when we hosted them at Step Change’s Alchemy event this month. With upwards of 50 companies represented on the night, we challenged each guest to consider their business against what we deem to be the top 30 market disruptors of 2019.

Presented with our Disruption Radar, guests identified what were the top two factors set to disrupt their business over the next 1,000 days.

Insight: For businesses to thrive, leaders need to be aware of the various industry disruptors and plan how they can stay ahead of the competition.

Data: Across 17 distinct industries, the top five disruption factors business leaders are anticipating to impact their businesses are (1) smarter machines, (2) platforms, (3) customers taking control, (4) burden of compliance, and (5) sustainability as a business advantage.

Key Action Point: Understand the disruption factors that may affect you in the next 1,000 in order to plan your next steps in becoming a nimbler organisation.

1. Smart Machines that Keep Getting Smarter

Think artificial intelligence, robotics and voice-assisted technology such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home. The increasing sophistication of these technologies points to an even more sophisticated future.

To take the example of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, statistics are showing that in only eight years, this technology has been widely embraced with over 55% of DVA (digital voice assistant) owners interacting with their device on a daily basis across the United States. Not only this, but according to Kevan Yalowitz of Accenture, DVA purchase intent in developing markets such as China, India, and Mexico matches or exceeds that of the United States.

So how do you think this will impact your business? What is your business dependent on today that could be improved or transformed by smarter and faster machines tomorrow?

2. The Social Marketplace: Customers Meet Businesses

Platform revolution is at hand. The capability of digital platforms to drive human connection is undeniable and consistently increasing, with applications such as Uber setting the bar for consumer expectations incredibly high.

In the marketplace, day-to-day interactions with the world’s leading digital businesses are setting the foundations for what consumers expect across the board. Businesses have recognised and embraced the valuable data captured through these channels and are using it proactively to better understand their customer and context.

So how is your business responding to these new expectations? How are you delivering an experience for your customer that meets (or exceeds) their expectations? Are you seizing the data offered through new channels as a means of evolving alongside the needs of your customers?

3. Customers, Take the Wheel

There has been a power-shift from business to customer over the last few decades. Today, a customers’ ability to self-navigate the journeys embarked upon with corporate partners will tend to dominate the interaction.

Consumers today are more informed, more resourced, and more empowered to drive the agenda. The challenge posed to businesses is no longer simply what they can offer their customers but how they might navigate the power-shift from business to customer in a way that sees their company innovate and evolve in a market where expectations for development are constantly speeding up.

What about your business? How are you engaging with a new breed of customer (a more informed, resourced, and empowered one)? What are some opportunities or challenges that might present themselves with this in mind?

4. The Increasing Burden of Compliance

Compliance sounds intimidating, right? Well, in the current climate, it’s not surprising if you feel that compliance is more than a little intimidating.

More recently, headline after headline detail the plethora of ways large trusted companies have skirted the perimeter of integrity. However, with increasing penalties for securities breached and more Royal Commissions in the pipeline, compliance has taken on new prioritisation.

As compliance pressure increases, legislation evolves, and the costs incurred from non-compliance rapidly increase, businesses will be forced to double-down on processes and foresee potential risks.

How might the new pressures around compliance impact your BAU (business as usual)? What risks can you foresee? How might you and your business “get ahead of the compliance game”? Do you have a compliant culture?

5. Sustainability as a Business Advantage

Sustainability matters. Leading research from McCrindle Institute identifies a "nod to sustainability" as an essential driver in the next stage of business evolution.

The introduction of corporate sustainability policies in businesses comes off the back of communities and governments prioritising sustainability as a critical component of any corporate or social policy.

Practically, a sustainable approach has many different applications in many different contexts, which proves a challenge to businesses developing policy that aligns with business objectives as well as customer values.

What aspects of your business address sustainability? What does a sustainable approach look like? How do your values align with your customers’ values?


Disruption is not stagnant. As the business landscape evolves, so too will opportunities for disruption and redefinition of business as we know it.

There are really only three valid choices when it comes to disruption:

  • Be it (or resource it via a start-up)

  • Bridge it (transition your cash flow to the new world)

  • Niche it (carve out high-value, defendable counter-niches now)

Anything else is having a strategy called ‘boiled frog’. So what strategic choice are you making?

If you would like to know more about our Strategic and Disruption radars, click here.

We have helped countless businesses navigate the unchartered waters of post-disruption business and would gladly do the same for you, so do contact us. We would also love your comments and engagement below.





laura-webster-step-changeLaura Webster is a Strategy Executive at Step Change. She works with businesses to imagine, create, and achieve their strategic future. Her previous work experience in client and account management, organisational leadership, and data analytics software platforms makes her a valuable member of the organisation. 


Ashton-BishopAshton Bishop is the CEO at Step Change. He is Australia’s Predatory Thinker — an expert in pinpointing how businesses can grow by outsmarting their competitors. His niche is in strategy, where he has spent the last 14 years working internationally on some of the world’s biggest brands. He’s a business owner and serial entrepreneur; challenging, sometimes even controversial; but always focused on what gets results.




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