Disruption: Brace yourself for the future shock!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Launching Disruption series as a prelude to the 11th Global Communication Conclave, Bengaluru - March 3 to 5, 2017 
By Deepak Menon
Business Strategist
Deepak Menon
Disruption represents change and, therefore, is usually not welcomed in our lives. It implies changing of longstanding norms and adapting to something new. Most people do not like that and prefer to smooth sail into the future. At times disruption can be good news, no matter how difficult to internalize. We all learn to adapt sooner or later.

In recent times forces that are causing disruption include the Environmental Crisis, Population Explosion, Economic Monopoly, Global Terror on the negative side and the Internet, Technology, New Discovery, Spirituality (not religion) on the positive side. These forces impact every society in every country in every possible way. Human beings are becoming increasingly aware of notions of a global village, a global community and that we are all in it together. There is certainly a marked shift in our preferences, decisions and actions. The choices we then make influence everything around us: politics, governance, education, societies, cultures, businesses, and borders.

Disruption that has an international impact compels communication norms to be adjusted or redefined so as to be most effective and efficient. The stakeholders involved, the channels being used, the skills required, the sensibilities of focus groups, the industry best practices are all subject to an overhaul. In such a scenario, all communication upgrade and development seem to revolve around two focus-points: Culture and the Internet.

Culture is both contemporary and traditional, both local and international. Communication practices that speak a language which is all-inclusive are most likely to succeed in a disruptive environment. Individuals with a keen sense of geographies, languages, music & arts, literature and human behavioural sciences surely have an upper hand and are prone to endure in the long-term. Lessons must be learnt quickly and on the fly. Street smartness and hands-on experience will therefore prevail over conventional academic achievements.

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Add the Internet to the mix and you have a very strong prospect for success. Thankfully, contemporary societies have already evolved with the Internet and embrace it as the preferred medium to communicate. This already makes all intercultural and international public-relations exchange happen today over the various channels offered by the Internet. Digital sensory communication like videos, images and sounds are most effective today. It is no surprise then that traditional channels like newspapers, radio and even television are slowly phasing out.

Today, more people resort to Google for knowledge,  Youtube for news & entertainment, Twitter for breaking news and trends,  Facebook and various apps to develop relationships, to Skype for business and personal meetings than ever before. With the advent of smartphones and their growing reach we are already living in the Web 3.0 version of the Internet. Everybody is connected, everybody can be reached somewhere and in the shortest time.

Perhaps the biggest implication of disruption is to adapt by developing new strategies. On the foundation of culture, the Internet and strong leadership, a plan to stay afloat, stay relevant and stay efficient can be conceived. This requires careful analysis and an approach that leverages past learning and experience into a whole new world of things. Being politically-correct is being replaced by being culturally-correct. For example, a plan that incorporates high integrity, good intention and strong values helps dodge imminent pitfalls. International partners with equally strong values, and public domain endorsements from historically progressive organizations matter most in a disruptive environment.

The skillset of the workforce changes too - the more heterogeneous the skillset the better, the more variety of ideas in the teams the better. Ideas and thoughts have to be vetted, used, archived and reused; slowly building an arsenal of multipurpose tools that can be deployed to tackle disruption in the immediate, short and long-term. These tools cannot be bought off the shelf, they have to be developed in-house based on a plan with a vision for the future.


Humanity has taken a quantum leap from the past decade towards a future time and space where uncertainties are the only certainty. International communication societies and individuals are likely to encounter disruption more than ever in the era of Web 3.0, Mars Missions, alternate Ancient Histories, Economic Consolidation, Global Environmental crisis, depletion of Planetary Resources and the dawn of Consciousness. Challenges will include economic survival, continuation of existing partnerships, engaging audiences consistently and finding your place in the overcrowding of the Internet. Brace yourself, pace yourself and tread forward strong. (Twitter:@TheDeepakMenonLinkedIN:https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepakmenonmba)

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