4 Basics disruptive innovators must get right

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harmoney-pic-minBeing an industry disruptor is a lonely place to be – but if you’re successful, the rewards are well worth the initial risk. Betting big on your new way of doing things takes courage, and is only the first step in a risky process.

Your next critical step is to quickly find and convince your target market to take that ride along with you.

So what does it take to leave that well-travelled highway and take off on your own uncharted course?

At its simplest, it’s all about being agile. If you can’t respond quickly to market feedback, your route could easily turn into a dead end. So what does agility look like when you’re (often) a small start-up with a lot to prove? It means you listen, learn, adapt and act in real or, more likely, near real time.

So how do you achieve agility? There are four key parts to being agile that need to be in sync

  1. Listening:
    In this context, we’re talking about data identification and collection. What data are you collecting and are you using all of your available channels to listen? Often, at this point in time, the unstructured data is more important than the structured.You need to understand the “WHY” or more likely the “WHY NOT” and you can’t get that from a clickstream trail or a website bounce. Make sure you have the ability to listen to that target market and your ecosystem on all available channels, you can’t just rely on the data coming in to your business systems.
  1. Learning:
    Listening is all well and good, but if you don’t learn from it, there really is no point in spending time and money collecting data. As a disruptor you need to understand the story behind the data, what’s really going on and, when combined with other internal and external data, the trends or patterns that are occurring. You also have to learn quickly what a good customer looks like and, conversely, what a not-so-good customer looks like.
  1. Adapting:
    What actions need to be taken from the learnings, or what next steps should be attempted or aborted? What do you need to keep repeating, and where do you need to find new data to validate your current theory? Once you see a positive theme how do you then automate the insights generation to ensure you keep updated? The actions you take based on those learnings will ensure that your path to success continues widening into a broad road.
  2. Acting in real time, or near real time:
    Taking on a world that already seems saturated with a widely-recognised, well-defined process is daunting. Being the disruptor means you have to be nimble and read the signs even before they’re finished being formed. This requires real time or, let’s be realistic, near real time data and insights. And you have to be ready to receive and act on what those insights regardless of your own preconceptions.

Harmoney in New Zealand is that disruptor in their financial services industry. They were that lonely risk-taker which created the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in an industry full of regulation and citizen distrust. They certainly had to learn quickly what a not-so-good customer profile looked like.

Read their story to learn how they achieved the agility required to survive:  SAS Helps Harmoney Approve the Right Customers.

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About Author

Carmen Gallagher

Carmen Gallagher is the head of Information Management and Big Data at SAS Australia and New Zealand. Carmen has spent many years focusing on helping companies achieve maximum benefit from data kept within their systems and has long been championing the need for a data quality and governance focus within all organisations, especially as the world of big data is redefining how we make business decisions.

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