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5 Things to Know About Marketplace Disruption

Keynote Speakers on Disruption and Innovation

A trend we’re seeing across industries for this year’s meetings is marketplace disruption—whether it’s anticipating change, being the noise-makers within your own industry, or encouraging those you lead to find new solutions to old problems.

Here are the five big things we’ve learned about this year’s buzziest meeting topic from our innovation and strategy experts:

Change is inevitable—and coming fast

Entrepreneurs and thought-leaders from Richard Branson to Bill Gates are warning of rapid societal change brought on by new technologies. Futurist and emerging trends expert Vivek Wadhwa agrees, arguing that Artificial Intelligence specifically is advancing far more quickly than anyone imagined.

It’s creating major anxiety for senior executives

It seems obvious that change would create headaches, but consider these statistics from the Executive Director of Stanford’s Digital Cities Program Mike Steep: 93% of CEOs surveyed believe innovation is critical to their company’s future, 51% have increased funding for innovation, yet only 18% are satisfied with the results.

Disruption is a double-edged sword

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will create new opportunities and growing pains, according to AI and Robotics expert Neil Jacobstein. “We will generate more wealth than we ever have before, the economy will grow, and businesses will be able to do new things they've never done before,” Jacobstein says. “However, in the short term, we’ll likely see displacement because we don't have the social mechanisms in place to keep up with these changes.”

The best way to manage disruption is to recognize it quickly

Businesses facing disruption must embrace it quickly rather than fighting it or putting it off, according to Former Yahoo! Vice President Salim Ismail. “Disruption and flexibility are now the key things,” Ismail says. “You have to figure out what your end consumer is doing and jump ahead of that.”

Disruption will mean better lives, and answers to bigger problems

While it can be messy, the end goal of disruption is, as Wired editor-in-chief Greg Williams puts it, “that people have better lives and we solve big problems.” Citing everything from using AI to improve healthcare to mining social media data to prevent terror attacks, Williams believes disruptive advances are finally “connecting the dots” in stagnant industries.

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