So, you want to start a business. Congratulations! So does everyone else and their pet Shih Tzu and/or Xoloitzcuintli.
Real talk: competition is fierce. You need an edge. While the existence of genies who can magically grant commercial success is a matter still up for debate (and let’s be honest: a lengthy expedition to the remote regions of the Arabian Desert in the hopes of finding a genie probably isn’t a very good use of limited financial resources), there are other ways to gain a leg up on your competitors. Such as… going into business in an industry where there’s likely to be room for you and a few others. A win-win for everyone, right?
Ok, great. But what industries should one start a business in? Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered dessert-making? It’s been done (and we did a story about it). Waste management? Ever seen The Sopranos? Then you know that’s a terrible idea.
A new Accenture report (which we covered here) says that, since disruption isn’t random at all, it might be best to go into an industry with a high potential for disruption – or is currently undergoing a high level of disruption. Embracing chaos, in other words.
“Disruption is regularly occurring outside of industry boundaries, so whilst looking at specific industries is a good place to start, threats and opportunities can also come from connecting the dots across industry boundaries, looking for customer pain-points and opportunities to create new value,” says Ben Morgan, head of Accenture Interactive (Accenture’s digital agency) in New Zealand. “Opportunities can quite often be found in sectors where there is already high disruption. For example; there is high disruption in the automotive industry but this is not reflected in supporting industries such as the tyre industry.
“For example why can’t I rent tyres based on the kilometres driven and have automatic replacement with sensors that state when they need replacing?”
Morgan sums things up more simply: “In terms of identifying opportunities for disruption, it is important to look not just at today’s problem, but identify what is going to be tomorrow’s problem.”
Alright then. But those industries.
Morgan says there are four industries in Aotearoa that are most “ripe for disruption.” They are:
- Residential building (“Creating new ways to build more homes in less space, faster).
- Healthcare (“New Zealand has an aging population and the need for innovation to support this population is only going to increase tenfold).
- Infrastructure (“Creating connected communities and providing fit for purpose city and rural infrastructure is a pressing need).
- Retail (“Providing opportunities for New Zealand high-street retailers to become more relevant to customers. We are seeing a trend towards the ‘physical fights back’ and retailers have an opportunity to deliver shopping experiences across all touch-points”).
So, that’s that. But Morgan adds it’s not enough just to want to get into an industry undergoing or ready to undergo profound change. “When considering areas for disruption, organisations need to focus on the opportunity rather than the technology,” he says. “For example, for residential building the outcome and point of disruption is to get houses built faster and to a higher standard. Organisations also need to look to connect with unlikely ecosystem partners, such as a retailer who has consumer engagement nailed and can apply the same principles to the supply chain process.”
Morgan also has one final piece of advice – which brings into question the very reasons for going into business. “Organisations need to be genuine and authentic,” he says. “Without this they will go nowhere.”
In other words: businesses today need to have a heart. Or a soul. Or at least be motivated by more than just a desire to make money. Though Apple, Starbucks and Walmart seem to be doing pretty well for themselves…
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