A day on disruption

The Media, artificial intelligence, the sharing economy, data and digitalization in tourism were just some of the subjects touched on during the annual BizMedia Design Conference.

The main theme for the latest annual BizMedia Design Conference was "Digital Disruption - Understanding and Potential".  The conference set out to de-mystify and recognize the  potential of "disruption", that in recent years has become a buzzword. In fact, it has been discussed so much that it was a contestant for "Word of The Year" in 2017.

Six key-note speakers were each invited to present their perspective on "disruption".

Claus Rosenstand, Ph. D, lecturer and author of the book; Digital Disruption - Threatening and fascinating changes, started the day by defining the concept for participants. Among other things, he explained how the falling price of computers together with the increased accessibility and speed of the Internet contributed to new types of business now dominating the market. In that connection, he mentioned the so-called price-performance ratio, that continuously pushes further away the limits for what is technically possible within given economic frameworks.

Editor in chief of NORDJYSKE Media, Lars Jespersen, described the tremendous development that has taken place in the Media-industry as a result of the technological advances. A great change has taken place in both technology and business models as well as in media-use. For example,  large numbers of readers now prefer digital news to physical newspapers and this has led to significant changes in advertizing methods. Therefore, it has become important for the classical media firms, such as NORDJYSKE Media, to constantly review and develop their products and business models in order to remain relevant. One lesson learned by NORDJYSKE Media, and others, during this process is that one should not give up too quickly. It often takes time for a new product or business area to gain real momentum.

As with the media industry, the telecommunication industry has also experienced rapid change. Peter Ditlev Nødbak, who is Head of Development for Telenor, told of that challenge, which to a high degree concerns finding one's place in the digital value-chain.  For example, there are almost no telecommunication operators that today earn money only by offering such services as telephone calls, data and text messages etc.. So the money has to be earned from new and more diverse business areas. He explained that Telenor has its eye on new technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence and advanced data-analysis while looking at the future of telecommunication.

Expert in digital disruption and artificial intelligence, Thomas Terney, took the stage just before lunch and, with a series of practical examples, explained in depth the enormous technological development that we now see evolving.  It is a development that will not only change our basic view of technology, but also the relationship between human beings and technology as well as the fundamental  business concepts of companies.  In many areas, humans cannot compete with machines and, therefore, we need to embrace the areas in which technology can make our lives easier and better but, at the same time identify those areas in which technology cannot replace or support human abilities.  If, for example, one looks at a chair one will often note the color and, perhaps also the designer.  However, if a robot should analyze a chair it will be able to identify the precise color-code, uses, size, materials, maintenance requirements,  dealers  and much more in a split second.

The technological development has led to many new business models. One that has evolved in recent years is "platform economy". The Danish company, GoMore, is an example of how, with a platform based concept one  can attempt to develop transport facilitation by creating new economic opportunities for both car-owners and others who have a need for transport.  Åsmund Hogstad, who is Head of Partnerships & PR for GoMore could tell of the development they have been through.  When he joined GoMore in 2015, the company consisted of 20 employees and has now expanded to 85 employees in several countries.  Their vision is to make car-sharing mainstream so more people can travel in fewer vehicles.  One of GoMore's latest contributions to its mission involves a strategic collaboration plan with North Jutland's bus  company.

The final speaker was Peter Kvistgaard who, in collaboration with John Hird has just undertaken a large study of the preparedness of tourism companies in relation to digitalization.  Tourism is growing all over the world, but how well prepared are North Jutland companies to meet tourists digitally?  The study shows that tourism companies are generally cautious with digitalization and that they have no clear strategies for digitalizing or for marketing via a digital platform. This is in contrast to the fact that tourists are digital "super-users" that use every available digital platform.  The question is, if that impedes companies from innovating and disrupting themselves. This question is the basis for a coming study that Hird and Kvistgaard expect to launch in the autumn of 2018.

In addition to the six speakers, the conference featured three groups of pre-graduation students from Experience Design and Interactive Digital Media programs/studies at Aalborg University. One group had developed the concept of a digital booking platform for the tourist industry, for which users had the opportunity to contribute their own content.  A second group attempted to define and elaborate ideas on gamification, while a third group had investigated the aspects of digital inheritance.

To complete the conference programme, the speakers participated in an open panel discussion that provided additional interesting perspectives on disruption related to people, technology and business development.

All in all, the BizMedia Design conference 2018 provided an exciting day on Disruption, including many different angles on the concept, along with examples of how individual firms work with it internally.  In addition to the presentations, lively networking between the 50 participants also took place.

In the above video you can also see reports from the day.