Disruptive Technology

by Rita Nguyen

This week I was invited to speak at the management conference of one of the big conglomerates here in Myanmar. The theme of the conference was disruption and they asked me to talk about technology specifically as this was a fairly traditional company. Here is a link to the presentation.

The key elements were to showcase some majorly disruptive companies, Uber and AirBnB. I also talked about the Starbucks app to show how a large traditional company could be equally disruptive. And while all of these companies and products are massive, I wanted to show their humble beginnings too. Big corporations tend to view technology projects as massive undertakings and I wanted to introduce the basic thought process behind an MVP without giving a boring lecture about lean startup methodologies.  And finally I wanted to give them a few simple tools to think disruptively. Merely asking “how do I disrupt my business” isn’t going to help. That’s an almost impossible question to answer anyway.

My final takeaway from this is to not be intimidated by technology. The big dirty secret in this sector is that usually the tech is the least common denominator and the simplest part of the equation. The business rules and requirements are oftentimes much more complex. The issue in Myanmar specifically is that there are far too many high priced consultants trying to sell you a whole apple pie when you should be tasting only one slice to determine if you even like apples. Hell, you may not even need a pie but that’s going to stop them. So slow down and figure out exactly what problem you’re trying to solve, it can usually be done much simpler than the huge tech overhaul someone is trying to sell through.