"Disrupt yourself before anyone else does" - Let's Get Real, Money Focus and Disruption

If it's wreckable, who will wreck it? What does Robin Hood have to do with error reporting and how could one think about disruption?

“Because it’s wreckable, all right?!” - Gordon Gecko, Wall Street

Disruption Strategy - Real-life example

I was just now in a daily call with the founder of a start-up I am mentoring. They are developing an AI-assisted tool to help manage/mitigate and streamline error reporting from tenants in facilities.

“Put Your Error Reports On Auto-Pilot With Our Digital Real Estate Assistant”

They have a great product on their hands, and they got paying customers and soon looking to scale up. He mentioned that he got asked “how much does it cost” at the end of the previous call with a potential customer.

Getting that question tells me that the SPIN selling technique hasn’t been used well enough. The conversation could have been about how much they are paying today for error reporting, in terms of people answering the phones, maintenance calls, customer satisfaction, how's it’s tied to the strategy of the company amongst other things. And putting a monetary figure on how they are working today, and understanding that ALL of the costs are coming from errors appearing in the first place.

And maybe the strategy of the real estate company is to make tenants feel comfortable, and have that personalized touch to it. Would a pure digital interface help with that or not?

The tool that the scale-up has is a tool to help streamline and manage error reports. Fair enough.

The job that Robin Hood had was to take money from the rich and give it to the poor. Fair enough. But what if the money would be evenly distributed? Would Robin Hood be angry because his mission would not be relevant anymore? Or would he cry out of joy because his vision that all wealth would be distributed evenly has now finally materialized?

Changing the conversation

If that would be the case for the scale-up, what would be their vision? That all error reports would be managed in a great way? Or, that they could utilize their knowledge of where and why these error reports are generated in the first place and completely eradicate the need for error reporting for the customer?

What they could do then would be to tell the customer that they can help eradicate error reporting in 1 year, helping maintenance staff act more proactively, and fix problems before they occur.

The customer could say "I know now that I am paying $10 000 in total costs… and we can eradicate this in 1 year using the insights from your tool and work proactively fixing problems before they occur? And this is what you have done for others as well? And this would correspond to an x percent change of the value of my real estate portfolio? And also team up with an IoT sensor company to provide plug and play solutions to keep everything the way it should, effectively raising digital maturity in the building, knowing that their mission is to eradicate errors occurring during the entire lifecycle with a tool catered to the past, present and future ways of working.

It’s all about the money. Knowing what the cost is today is imperative here. And knowing that it could be eradicated with the help of data-driven decision making. What would that do for the Net Operating Profit if all maintenance calls would be cut by 95%? What would that do to attract cool tenants, and also raising the profile of the building? What other benefits could appear?

“Our building is proactively protected by knowing beforehand where problems occur, and if problems occur, rest assured that our processes of fixing things are the best in the World!”

The point here is that the customer might want to have a tool and process for better error reporting. Which is a classic take on the “If I would ask customers what they wanted, they would want faster horses”.

They would like to go from point A to B faster. The original definition of A to B would simply be about the existing ways of working but a failure to understand what the true value is for the customer.

Disrupt Yourself - The road towards future-ready facilities

Even if the scale-up mentioned in this article would in fact go after a business model where they would disrupt themselves, they could actually benefit from it in the long-term. Much more so because they would own the flow of information and not try to mitigate a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

I’ve always believed that it’s better to disrupt yourself than letting someone else do it. It’s bound to happen eventually for most companies so why not check it, and also wreck it when there still is time?

Do companies need to understand and perhaps re-evaluate what value they are providing? What is a future-ready facility and how does that correspond to a reduction of costs, as well as a loss of possible income? Now with COVID19, what will be the new normal? How to make employees happier when they are not in the office? What is the future of commercial real estate in the next 5-10 years? Will everyone get back to buildings? Or just some of the people? What will remote ways of working look like and what would make people come back?

Is it error-free buildings? Maybe something more as well such as Smarter Buildings?

All I know is the only constant is change. And the times they are a changin. Maybe we’ll see rurality dominate even more, which will be one of the drivers of the era of creative destruction we’ll see in the next decade. It is sometimes necessary to step back, and go above and beyond to understand the holistic context.

Don’t you think Kodak wished that they could go back in time and leverage the Digital Camera they invented 15 years before everyone else? And that they had more sense of urgency instead of business as usual rhetoric from Perez? What do you think? Would Robin Hood be happy or not when all wealth would be distributed evenly? Would existing companies in the real estate space be happy when truly Smart Buildings exist and there’s little to no need for their services?

Time will tell. And until then, Beyond Buildings will help you try to go Above and Beyond realizing that we can’t build the future on yesterday’s technology nor mindset.

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