Altimeter’s Four Disruption Themes for Business

Jeremiah: This was initially posted on the official Altimeter blog, which I’m now cross-posting here on Web Strategy. I’m personally proud, that our research team can come together as one unit to do this, and look at many technologies and identify broader themes as a collective. Once in a while, I pinch myself at how fun work can be, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?  Here’s the post:

By Altimeter’s Research Team
Analysts: Susan Etlinger, Charlene Li, Rebecca Lieb, Jeremiah Owyang, Chris Silva, Brian Solis;
Consulting: Ed Terpening, Alan Webber;
Researchers: Jon Cifuentes, Jessica Groopman, Andrew Jones, Jaimy Szymanski, Christine Tran

Over 30 Technologies Have Emerged, at a Faster Pace than Companies Can Digest. If you think social was disruptive, it was really just the beginning. Altimeter’s research team recently convened for our annual research offsite and found over 30 disruptions and 15 trends that have emerged (see below for the full list in our Disruption Database). These disruptions and trends will affect consumers, business, government, the global economy; with accelerating speed, frequency and impact.

Altimeter's Business Disruption Themes

Four Major Business Disruptions Emerge – Business Leaders Must Prepare.

Out of these disruptions and trends, Altimeter identified four major themes that will be disruptive to business. Below is a preview of Altimeter’s four business disruption themes, with a definition and short description of each. In the coming weeks, we’ll publish a short report explaining these themes in more detail.

Everything Digital: An increasingly digital landscape – including data, devices, platforms and experiences – that will envelop consumers and businesses.

Everything Digital is the increasingly digital environment that depends on an evolving ecosystem of interoperable data, devices, platforms – experienced by people and business. It’s larger than the scope of Internet of Things, as it’s pervasive or ambient not defined only by networked sensors and objects, but including capabilities such as airborne power grids or wireless power everywhere. Everything Digital serves as the backdrop for our next three themes.

Me-cosystem: The ecosystem that revolves around “me,” our data, and technologies that will deliver more relevant, useful, and engaging experiences using our data.

Wearable devices, near-field communications, or gesture-based recognition are just a few of the technologies that will make up an organic user interface for our lives, not just a single digital touchpoint. Digital experiences will be multiplied by new screen types, and virtual or augmented reality. Individuals who participate will benefit from contextualized digital experiences, in exchange for giving up personal data.

Digital Economies: New economic models caused by the digital democratization of production, distribution, and consumption.

Supply chains become consumption chains in this new economy as consumers become direct participants in production and distribution. Open source, social, and mobile platforms allow consumers to connect with each other, usurping traditional roles and relationships between buyers, sellers, and marketplaces. Do-it-yourself technologies such as 3D printing and replicators will accelerate this shift, while even currency becomes distributed and peer-to-peer-based. In this new economy, value shifts towards digital reputation and influence, digital goods and services; even data itself. The downside? An increasing divide between digital “haves” and the digital “have-nots.”

Dynamic Organization: In today’s digital landscape, dynamic organizations must develop new business models and ways of working to remain relevant, and viable.

Business leaders grapple with an onslaught of new technologies that result in shifting customer and employee expectations. It’s not enough to keep pace with change. To succeed, dynamic organizations must cultivate a culture, mindset, and infrastructure that enables flexibility and adaptability; the most pioneering will act as adaptive, mutable “ad-hocracies.”

Altimeter’s Disruption Database
Below are the 30 digital disruptions and 15 digital trends, which were used as the starting ground of our analysis.

Disruptions Trends
  • 3-D Printing and Replicators
  • App Economy
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Augmented Reality (Google Glass)
  • Automated Life (Cars, Homes, Driving, etc.)
  • Automated Robots
  • Bio-Engineering
  • Biometric Authentication (Voice/audio, fingerprint, body/eyescan, gesture, olfactory user interface Content Marketing
  • Digital/Social TV vs. “Second Screen”
  • Emerging Hand Held Devices / Platforms (Android, Tablet, Phablet)
  • Gamification
  • Gesture/Voice-Based Interface/Navigation / “Human as Interface”Hacking/Social Engineering and Information Security
  • Haptic Surfaces (Slippery, wet, textured through electrical currents)
  • Healthcare – Data and Predictive Analytics
  • Human-Piloted Drones
  • Hyper-Local Technology / Mobile Location / Indoor Mapping
  • Internet of Nanoparticles (Embedded in bloodstream)
  • MicroMedia Video
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Mobile Payments
  • Native Advertising
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Near Field Communications
  • Open Source / Open Data / Open Innovation
  • Peer-Based Currency / Soical Currency (BitCoin)
  • Proximity Based Communications
  • Social Engagement Automation (Robots Respond on Twitter)
  • Social Network Analysis, Graphing, and Data Science
  • Social Technologies
  • Touch Permeates Digital/Surfaces: TVs, Touch Advertising
  • Virtual Reality / Immersive 3D Experiences
  • Wearable / Embedded Technology
  • Wireless Power / Electricity
  • Big Data
  • Collaborative Economy
  • Connected Workplace
  • Customer Experience
  • Design/Architecture and Integration
  • Data Convergence/Customer Intelligence
  • Data vs Creative in the Org: New Decision Process
  • Digital Ethnography or Customer Journey Mapping
  • Digital Influence and Advocacy
  • Evolution of the Center of Excellence
  • Generation C
  • Hypertargeting
  • Internet of Things or Internet of Everything
  • Intrapreneurship, Innovation Culture, and Innovation Hubs
  • Pervasive Computing
  • Porous Workplace
  • Privacy: Standardization and Regulation (“Beware of Little Brother”)
  • Quantified Self or Human API
  • The Digital Journey and Understanding Digital Signals
  • The Maker Movement
  • The Neuroscience of Digital Interactions

Open Research: Please Share Your Comments and Insights with Us.
There’s more to come – we’ll be sharing additional insights such as 1) top questions for businesses to ask, 2) who’s disrupted and who benefits, and 3) enabling technologies.In the meantime, we’re soliciting your comments as part of our Open Research model. Please share our themes with others, and help us answer these questions:

  • What other business disruptions or trends are you seeing? Please add to this Google form and we’ll provide proper attribution.
  • Which of these four business disruption themes impact your business now?
  • How is your business responding to these themes, or the related disruptions and trends?

Photos from Altimeter’s Research OffsiteBelow are a couple illustrations that resulted from the discussions that took place at our research offsite:

Mock Up of Disruption Marketecture

Above Image: Altimeter synthesized these disruptions and trends, which become broader themes.

Graphic Illustration from Altimeter Research Offsite

Above Image: A graphic illustration of our synthesis. Thank you to Paula Hansen who was instrumental in visually capturing our discussions in real-time.

29 Replies to “Altimeter’s Four Disruption Themes for Business”

  1. Data is important here–it appears several times on your trend list. It seems that data/content is driving innovation in how its stored as an IT industry, what appeals to us as consumers and how we consume it.

    I like the word “disruption,” as it sort of has a negative connotation as it is usually used to describe something bad, but it very well could mean something great (as long as leaders “prepare”).

    Will be interesting to see the disruptions and trends on a roadmap–what’s coming first? This year? Next year? Next 5 years? It’s difficult to predict all, but short term there are already signs.

  2. Thanks you Chris. Disruption suggests that there’s a power shift, and therefore a shift in resources. Those that adopt, can benefit, and those who don’t, will yield their resources to others.

    And yes, data, is at the core of this.

  3. Absolutely fantastic post. Interesting to see how similar your foresight work is to what I’ve done with Forum for the Future. I see an overarching platform missing here, though: the pervasive cloud. We did a fair amount of work around how the cloud is already the platform for an entire ecosystem of established and emerging services and technologies. But, thinking more broadly — what is the implication for device manufacturers if the ‘value-add’ moves almost entirely to the digital sphere? We already see devices converging on a few key form factors, and device computing being moved to the cloud (think, for example, Google’s voice command features). What happens when connectivity is sufficiently robust that high-level computing can happen entirely in the cloud, and the device becomes a ‘dumb pipe’ commodity? How might this affect device marketability — or the emergence of a new range of form factors, given that heavy computing is no longer required on-device? I think the robust cloud + connection factor has the potential to significantly shift business models for diversified and pure manufacturers alike.

  4. Very interesting collaboration. You certainly captured many of the themes and trends that will have a major impact in our lives and businesses over the next decade. One thing that you may be missing is how the nature of work is changing completely. Collaboration is the aspiration, but the culture is still not there. Technology is evolving at incredible speed, but old mind sets of how business should be conducted and by whom is still really hard to change.
    In my opinion, change in business culture will be a major disruptor as organizations move away from centralized managed models and towards a more open collaborative way of working that transcends org charts and business silos

  5. To get success in business these kind of theme is very essential for the people. So i suggest them to follow it regularly when they want to do business.

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