Impermanence, interdependence and complexity of business markets

In a recent meeting, I was discussing the impermanence, interdependence and complexity of business markets and how these are now creating a generation of markets’ disruptions. I kept talking for a few minutes until I realised that my counter-party had no clue what I was talking about. Hmmm… Interesting enough to write a quick article? Some of you might find this useful...

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2016. Today.

Sciences (biology, anthropology, etc.) are saying that mankind evolution is accelerating. But not since yesterday… Since thousands of years! So our feeling that the world is changing NOW at a faster pace than BEFORE is just a “classic” generational feeling. But, with the markets globalisation and the digital transformation leading to more frequent business disruptions, there is a stronger sense of acceleration, interconnectedness and loss of control.  

Let's check here a few classic market disruption examples:


It is no longer IF but WHEN Tesla CEO's Master plan – Part 2 will become reality, drastically transforming the vehicle and related industries. With the new business model of self-drive cars which

  • will make taxi drivers redundant (Uber is testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh NOW),
  • will achieve a “close-to-zero accidents” transportation,
  • will reduce the volume of vehicles on our roads by 90% compared to current situation to cover the world's transportation needs.

All this will generate huge society impacts (lay-offs in the relevant industry, impacts on organ donations, etc.). See on this subject an interesting paper by Robin CHASE, ex-CEO of Zipcar. All this is happening NOW, and within 10 years a new business model is going to replace one that has been in place for over 50 years ==> IMPERMANENCE, INTERDEPENDENCE, acceleration, interconnectedness     


Yesterday classic banking was on top of the West's economic pyramid, but today banks are struggling with the implementation of post-2008 crisis reinforced rules and regulations, entangled with their past (many products to be maintained, legacy IT infrastructures, local analogue agencies, etc.) and show extreme difficulty to adapt to the disruption caused by online digital banking. Lack of vision, a highly hierarchical organisation lacking in flexibility and slow real-time business model adjustments, are unfortunately having a huge impact on the market, at the expenses of jobs. In Belgium, ING has recently announced the loss of 3,600 jobs. The crisis is still on and fear is that the worst may be yet to come. ==> COMPLEXITY, uncertainty

On the other side, take a quick look at how digital fortunes are reacting to this situation smartly and swiftly and creating funds to invest in small business (No, not necessarily in Silicon Valley businesses!) ==> INTERDEPENDENCE, interconnectedness     


An over-used quote qualifying AirBnB is that this company is “the highest capitalised company in the lodgings industry without owning a single square meter”. This shows how from an innovative idea to construct a complete business model which, supported by the right platform (not only talking about IT here), can make you a worldwide leader in the industry in just a few years. Leading hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt took decades to become renowned market leaders ==> INTERDEPENDENCE, interconnectedness, acceleration


Following budget cuts, home health care in the Netherlands has developed for the benefit of large private companies. Faced with their poor quality and inefficiency, Jos de Blok decided to reinvent them: in 2006 this former health professional creates Buurtzorg (Dutch for "community care"), a company aimed at overcoming these gaps by setting up small autonomous local teams dedicated to caring for and interacting with clients. The company employed 9,000 nurses in 2015 and is now exporting its model to other countries such Sweden, Japan and the United States. It now provides home care to more than 90,000 people. ==> IMPERMANENCE, COMPLEXITY, INTERDEPENDENCE, interconnectedness.


Computer industry is my original sector. How much time do you think it will take before Artificial Intelligence can (re)write 5%, 20%, 50%, 80% of the business applications that are currently available on the market? Make your guess…==> IMPERMANENCE, acceleration, interconnectedness

Many more examples of these disruptions can be found in sectors such as agriculture, mechanical industry, clothing, etc.  

Often these game changers have disrupted their native market because they:

  • Envisioned a different world,
  • Presented fresh and innovative ideas to their market,
  • Listened to market and customer frustrations and came up with valid solutions,
  • Proposed a more positive and resilient working model instead of a "market-crunching" or “people-crunching” one,
  • etc.

Can’t we do anything about these market disruptions? Nope. Let's not even try to resist.

As stated by Stelio VERZERA from Cocoon Projects: “Complexity is rising. Predictability is dead. Work needs to evolve.”

Live long and prosper!