Technology is constantly changing. Everything is getting faster, more widespread, and more immersive. Companies and organizations need to adapt their business model to reach their target audience if they want to stay relevant.
It is easy for any organization to become set in their ways. Often managers say, "We've always done it that way." This spells death for a company. If you don't adapt to a changing environment, then you will be left behind. As technology changes, you need to change your business model and methods.
Successes and failures
History is full of stories of companies failing to adopt new technology to stay competitive. Think of Blockbuster, once king of movie rentals going bankrupt in the face of Netflix mail-order DVDs. Blockbuster had thousands of locations all over the country. Now there is only one independent store left.
On the otherhand Netflix saw the future and adapted. They could have clung to the mail-order rental business which was successful and ignored the possibilities of movie streaming. At the time, streaming was impractical because internet speeds were limited. But Netflix knew that eventually internet speeds would be at a point to allow movie streams without buffering. So Netflix started its own streaming service which actually cannibalized its DVD business. Fast forward years later and now Netflix is competing with Disney for entertainment media dominance.
Embracing changing times
The New York Public Library system is embracing the changing times. Apparently kids aren't reading books anymore. Neither physical novels nor eBooks. To continue to reach their audience, instead of getting people to come to the library to check out a book, the library is bringing books to people through Instagram stories.
Young people, especially, are spending hours and hours on Instagram looking at pictures. The library is taking advantage of this in a pilot program. Popular books are scanned into a digital form and then uploaded to Instagram on the library's story. Users can then read the book page by page as they flip through the story.
Rather than cling to the old methods of physical, audio, or digital books, the New York Public Library is actively trying to reach young people and keep them engaged.
How to adopt new technology
There is no guaranteed method to detect future technological changes. If you invest too heavily in one technology and it turns out to be a flop or is surpassed quickly by a superior technology, then you are sunk.
The key is to watch out for larger technology trends. Nothing happens overnight. There is a gradual shift in attitudes and processes. Pay attention to trends in your industry, related industries, and the economy as a whole. Usually if you have an open mind, then you can stay on top of changes. The attitude of "we've always done it that way" is what gets you into trouble.
What do you think? What technological trends do you think will shape the future in the next few years? Let me know in the comments.
Ethan Hausmann is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach for Successtar Enterprises LLC. He is an author, professional speaker, and seminar/workshop instructor. Ethan has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, customer service, leadership, and other small business related concerns.