Businesses have evolved naturally, tweaking and re-tweaking to meet consumer needs.
However, it is the habit of many companies to become complacent about their business models, sinking into a comfort zone and gripping tightly to an organisational structure well after it has served its purpose.
Successful organisations set up, implement their business plans and mature. It is normal to experience a stable period of growth over a few years without any severe disruptions or major economic setbacks.
It is idealistic to believe any company can continue to cruise and evolve in a linear fashion. Looking at the list of Fortune 500 companies, one can observe significant turnover over the last fifty years.
The rise and fall of new technologies
In the age of new information technologies, we the people, have innovative ways of organising work because we are able to make well-informed decisions.
It has spurred a revolution driven by our human want for economic efficiency and autonomy as well as personal fulfilment and liberty.
What the Internet has done is effectively decentralised markets. Meaning, people can actively participate in decisions that affect them and do not have to be bound by decisions they do not personally stand by.
There is a technical term for the kind of organisation this revolution will make more common. The word is decentralised. We define decentralisation here as the participation of people in the decisions that affect them.
Unlike centralised hierarchies such as military organisations or loose hierarchies such as universities, decentralised democracies or markets do not bind individuals by decisions to which they do not personally agree.
A critical task for any management when revolutionising their business is to seek out new organisational practices that layout the foundation for the next stage of business growth.
Inevitably, often the solution for this period will become an issue at a future point. So evolution and revolution is a cycle for every successful, resilient business.
Uber: a case study
The best current case study for an industry currently in a state of revolution is the taxi industry. The thing is, though, the taxi industry has monopolised car-based transportation services for a while and existed unopposed until now, with services like Grab and of course, Uber.
Uber first arrived in New York with an advantage, unlike most disruptive technology firms, it had little commercial opposition. It also addressed a demand for taxis that were limited in supply and somehow had power over the consumer, leading drivers to refuse rides and haggle prices.
However, Uber has had to fight a tough political battle in many countries due to state laws and regulations imposed of taxi services and companies that Uber were able to dodge in their inception.
Nonetheless, like any revolutionary, Uber charges into new markets without permission and overcome opposition by amassing a large, loyal and satisfied user base.