David and I discuss my book Xcelerate as well as disruption, business model innovation and change.
David Prior: Lifestyle overnight. David Prior with you. Modern businesses I guess are facing disruption. I mean, at a very fast rapid pace at the moment. Technology's evolving and that of course drives new business models, it brings about with it new market innovation opportunities. Start ups like Uber, Airbnb are shaking up, transforming the way we do things like Uber for example, getting across town or Airbnb, the way we stay in another town.
This new book is called Xcelerate and written by entrepreneurial strategist and author Paul Broadfoot and it's flipping the traditional approaches to disruption and innovation and it's providing fast frameworks that deliver real breakthrough results for leaders of large organisations and people who might just simply own a small business, want to see it grow. It's an interesting book, Xcelerate, innovate your business model, disrupt your market and fast hack into the future. I wanted to have a chat with Paul Broadfoot about the book and who will get the most out of this book.
Paul Broadfoot: Yes, I've certainly been trying to get everyone's attention. The book was one of the ways I was trying to get everyone's attention, David. I think there's so much change that's been coming for quite awhile now and it's digital disruption and it changes so fast. It's undermining a lot of people's business models and Telstra also announcing today that they're going to shed 1,400 jobs, I think. It's a wave of change that's coming and we need to be concentrating on how we can change to avoid it.
David Prior: You used the word disruption. It's everywhere at the moment. Technology's evolving and so too is disruption when it comes to what we know of as traditional businesses. How do we manage to keep up?
Paul Broadfoot: Well I think the first thing is to be aware that, when we say the word innovation and/or disruption, a lot of people think about how can we improve the way we do business? Now when they think about product innovation, well they think about how they can help their customers more. Business models is what we need to look at. Some of the big disrupters like Uber and Airbnb have not invented anything, haven't done any product innovation, they've just changed the way an industry operates.
David Prior: They've taken what is already essentially there but reworked it?
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, it's leveraging new technology to create a new business model and that's what we need to do.
David Prior: Are too many businesses these days beige and they're not doing anything creative any more?
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, I think we have certainly got into the habit in Australia of optimization and efficiency and just doing the same things and trying to do them more cost effectively and cheaper and if you look at some of our biggest organisations, which bank's got the best product, the best service and the lowest price? Which petrol station has got the best petrol, the cheapest petrol, the best service? It's hard for us to see some differences in our largest organisations, so yeah, we are a bit beige.
David Prior: Is experimentation the way to go forward?
Paul Broadfoot: That's definitely one, exploration and experimentation. It comes with some risk and that's something that people try and engineer out of processes, but certainly testing new things and iterating them when they don't go exactly perfectly in the beginning is definitely a way to improve things.
David Prior: I know in the book you say that you look at how things are shifting the way your market operates, using your framework that easily identifies new innovation options. What are some of the options we really need to be looking at?
Paul Broadfoot: I think changing the way that we work in our industries. A good example would be in say a manufacturing operation. Australia perhaps, it's been hit by cheaper imports and they need to do something else and they probably have a lot of value in the service and the knowledge and the relationships they have with customers so perhaps they should start selling their service as well as the product and start to mitigate some of the changes.
David Prior: Yeah, see that's something that seems to be failing at the moment, is service.
Paul Broadfoot: Yes, I don't see a lot of great service around and like I mentioned before, some of our biggest companies, it's really missing. It's certainly going to get a big shake up with someone like Amazon coming in and they're going to win on the price front and so other people are going to have to compete on things other than price.
David Prior: Yeah, well you mentioned Amazon, they're also being creative, aren't they, in the way that they deliver product to people? Amazon, I think, is the one that has created like a drive through, where you can pick up your fresh fruit and veggies.
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, that's one of their latest things, very new, they tested it with their own employees first. You can order your groceries online and then they pull into a car park on an angle and there's number plate recognition technology and brings their order out. That's one example and they've got checkout-less Amazon Go now in the US, so there's a lot of different ways they're just changing the way they get products to people.
David Prior: Yeah, and again, Airbnb you mentioned. I mean, it's still the same as any other hotel chain really, but it's just changing slightly how we deliver the business. Rooms that nobody is using in the house or add a person in the bedroom, it just makes sense, doesn't it?
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, it's interesting when you look back. It's hard to think why didn't someone come up with this long ago? There's no new technology. People have been booking things on the internet for decades, so there's no new capacity being built, there's no new building that's being built, it's just a different way the market operates.
David Prior: Is the new way about collaboration as well, businesses collaborating together?
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, I think there's collaboration. There's going to be acquisition as well, collaboration within businesses about how to change, then collaboration with big businesses with small businesses so combining the strengths of both. I think that's the next phase of corporate innovation is to leverage smaller more nimble companies and for the smaller more nimble companies as start ups to get the advantage of the reach and the scale of the large company so that they can go and test their ideas for products with their customers.
David Prior: It really is rapid growth that's happening at the moment and rapid change too in the marketplace, so how do you sit and write a book and manage to get that out now and not have everything change in front of you before it even gets out?
Paul Broadfoot: Yeah, I think many, many companies struggle with change. Their percentages are something like 30 percent of change works and 70 percent fails. There been Harvard Business Review articles like that. Getting change to stick and to leverage that is really difficult and people have wrestled and spent millions and billions of dollars on change and leadership change over the years. The fact is, the bigger the organisation gets, the harder it is to stay quick and nimble.
David Prior: Yeah. Also, as the organisation gets bigger, is it also harder for upper management to hear fresh new ideas coming from junior employees that might come up with a brainstorm in the middle of the night?
Paul Broadfoot: There's no doubt that there's a gap between the bridge and the front of the boat, if you like, the one that's speaking to the customer, so there's delays there and companies trying to engineer out of that better. I don't think it's really an idea problem. There's been so much investment in hackathons and idea generation over the past number of years, I think it's about getting traction now. We're not short on ideas, it's about getting them into commercial realisation that's our challenge now in Australia.
David Prior: Yeah. Who will get the most out of this book?
Paul Broadfoot: Look anyone who wants to get across changing marketplaces, so if someone wants to be proactive about if my marketplace changes, what are my options, and getting in front of that or if they're already starting to see a bit of a dip on the sales line.
David Prior: Yep.
Paul Broadfoot: It'll give them the frameworks where they can have a disruptive idea without having to spend days and weeks brainstorming and working with other people. It's a framework and it's got 24 business models and you can easily just see here's where I am now and here's some options for me.
David Prior: This is both big business but also if you've got a small business and you were hoping to see it get bigger, this might be just the perfect book for you right now, right?
Paul Broadfoot: That's what I find, David. I find people coming to me from the large business space and then I get startups, because they get the ability to design their business model from scratch and so they're looking to make a big splash in their world and so yeah, I get to work with a few of those as well, which is great.
David Prior: Fantastic. It sounds like a great book. Xcelerate, with an X, Xcelerate. Innovate your business model, disrupt your market and fast hack into the future. I think it sounds like a really good read for anybody that is at the moment based in business, and let's face it, it's most of us. Paul Broadfoot, thank you very much for having a chat with us.
Paul Broadfoot: David, thank you for having me.