Chapter 9

How Do You Know That It’s Working?

Your organization is still alive

The first proof that you’re becoming an anticipant organization is that you’re still alive. For organizations in mid-transition from analog to digital, being able to say that the doors are still open is proof that something is going right. You have not yet been taken out by a nanocrisis. Remember our definition: “a nanocrisis is a predicament or calamity whose origins lie in the dependence of an organization on a digital system, and whose speed and scale preclude immediate mitigation by humans.”

That speed and scale continues to catch even major players unaware. The collapsing U.S. retail sector gives us a sobering example. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 12,000 physical stores closed amid a social upheaval spawned in large part by the arrival of “online everything.” This disruption—dubbed the retail apocalypse by The Atlantic—continued post- pandemic at a pace not seen since the Great Depression.

Admittedly, organizational life in the post-pivot digital world is risky (even without a global pandemic). Among the strategic responses to the perceived threat of digital disruption, we advise four things for leaders to do.

  • Step one

    See disruption for what it is.

  • Step two

    Refocus the organization to become the disruptor in its space.

  • Step three

    Surface the organization’s data, freeing it from the silos that hamper legacy systems.

  • Step four

    Think of ways to create entirely new products and services through new channels.

The reality of digital disruption


For those who have not yet begun the journey to anticipant organization, one finding in a Forbes study entitled The Reality of Digital Disruption may appeal. The authors noted that, “A total of 83% of executives who see their organizations as market disruptors report increased revenue over the past three fiscal years, compared with 54% of those in non-disruptive or partially disruptive enterprises.”

When your human-machine teams begin identifying ways to do things better, cheaper, AND differently, you will have arrived.


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