Technology disrupts absolutely
Each of these companies mentioned above is a household name, even in Namibia, where we don’t even have access to all their products or services. These companies have become some of the largest and most successful and in Apple’s case, the most profitable and valuable companies in the world. All within a relatively short time and with competitors coming and going.
Some of these companies were not even around a mere ten years ago, yet here they are and here they will probably stay.
AirBnB has revolutionised the hospitality industry beyond recognition. In turn changing the way people travel, where they travel to and making hotels and established guesthouses rethink their pricing structure and re-evaluate how they operate.
People now have the power and the means to make and generate money from their property, truly empowering them and changing the way we travel. It is even benefiting Namibians, as they place their properties on AirBnB and are able to generate much needed income.
When analysing these organisations and their products and services, it becomes clear that the people that started these companies simply looked at the status quo and thought…”this can be improved upon.” With the rise of the Internet and development of technology and innovation things started to change.
The status quo was disrupted, for want of a better word. Just because things were a certain way and had always been done that way, no longer meant anything. It was a brave new world, almost seemingly within a blink of an eye.
A mere twenty years ago Kodak was one of the world’s largest and most successful companies, now they are a mere shadow of their former self. They didn’t see the digital photography for what it was and ultimately their business model no longer made sense and wasn’t sustainable.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution really is the dawn of a new era. Like anything new and untested people are uneasy, hesitant and resistant to change. Will their jobs disappear, will their companies no longer matter and ultimately will Artificial Intelligence take over? There is however no need for unease, leveraging technology and innovation in all sectors offers new job opportunities and possibilities.
It opens up a new a whole new market for people who are innovators and think in solutions. Local versions of internationally successful innovations and service providers should be stimulated, developed, invested in and celebrated.
Whether it is developing local mobile payment solutions, perhaps an online ride-hailing app or using technology to curb poaching. Even Governments are benefiting through e-Government and e-Governance solutions such as streamlining application processes for birth certificates or registering business. You no longer have to imagine having an integrated application to have all of a Municipality’s services at your fingertips on your smart device.
It is all being conceived, implemented and rolled-out already right here in Namibia. The possibilities are endless and with a youthful nation like ours, we can transform the economy within a few short years due to the speed at which tech and innovation can be implemented. Disruption is not a dirty word, it can and will be the catalyst to kickstart our and the Southern African economy as long as we are bold and people follow their vision. Follow it and not be afraid to make waves and question the status quo!