Disrupt or Be Disrupted

Jamie Engstrom
Caterpillar Inc.

“No matter what business you are in, someone can come up with an idea, access the capabilities they need—from logistics to finance, technology to talent—and be competing with you by lunchtime.” —Greg Satell, Forbes

Regardless of industry, creating new economic value for your customer is at the top of the agenda today, as senior executives realize that technology can be an extraordinary catalyst for quick innovation. Gone are the days when taking years to get something to market was acceptable. Things have to be done in months, if not weeks. What are you doing to keep your business relevant? As executives, this is something we all need to consider!

Technology now places at the fingertips of any average Joe or Jill the same opportunities and resources that were traditionally at the disposal of big brands. That means anyone, anywhere, can be your next competitor. Consider Airbnb. Founded in 2008, the company is quickly surpassing some of the world’s most well-known hospitality brands. They have no assets, no bricks and mortar, but large profit returns. It is a perfect example of the “shared economy” concept, meaning individuals can share their homes, tools, cars and other assets through a simple web application—and it is changing the way people engage in commerce.

It’s about truly understanding your customer needs; the value to business comes with speed, differentiation and growth. The new business models lie at the intersection of new possibilities created by technology and incremental value driven by the changing customer. Together, these are the new, dual forces of disruption.

It also means we need to change the way we think about business, and build new business models. Consider Caterpillar’s agreement with Yard Club, a startup that developed an online, peer-to-peer equipment rental platform for both Cat and non-Cat branded products. Caterpillar’s investment allowed Yard Club to expand beyond San Francisco and allowed Caterpillar to provide an innovative solution to customers in need of rental equipment.

“What’s becoming clear is that the age of the standalone brand is over. You’re either connected or you’re dead.” —Greg Satell, Forbes

Are you interested in learning more about how companies are using new technologies and creating new economic value? Join us at the Peoria Civic Center on May 13, 2016 for Disruptive Business Models: Disrupt or Be Disrupted, the fourth annual Leadership Summit to benefit Easter Seals, and learn from senior executives who have already leveraged innovative concepts within their companies, creating new business models and applying disruptive methodologies to foster innovation. That evening, the Leadership Summit culminates with the 10th annual Passage to India event, a Bollywood-themed cultural experience dinner featuring authentic Indian cuisine prepared by local Indian chefs. For advance reservations or more information, email summitinfo @ci.easterseals.com. iBi

Jamie Engstrom is director of global technology services at Caterpillar Inc. and co-chair of the fourth annual Leadership Summit to benefit Easter Seals.

Add new comment

This question is used to prevent automated spam submissions.