Netflix, Uber, Apple, Amazon, Airbnb.
Each of these companies 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 in the world, and all within a relatively short time. Some of these companies were not even around ten years ago, yet here they are and they are likely to stay.
As an example, Airbnb has revolutionised the hospitality industry, changing the way people travel, where they travel, making hotels and guesthouses rethink their pricing structure and operations. People now have the power and the means to make and generate money from their property, truly empowering them. It is even benefiting Namibians, as they place their properties on that platform and are able to generate much-needed income.
When analysing the organisations and their products and services, it becomes clear that the people who established the companies looked at the status quo and thought, “this can be improved on.”
With the rise of the internet and the development of technology and innovation, things began to change and the status quo was disrupted. Just because things were a certain way and had always been done that way, no longer meant anything. A mere 20 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 digital photography for what it was and ultimately their business model no longer made sense.
Dawn of a new era
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?
However, there is no need for unease. Leveraging technology and innovation in all sectors provides 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. 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 thanks 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!