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The Impact of the Acceleration of Disruptive Technologies on Leaders and Boards

April 15, 2022

digitized hand on the world of accelerated disruptive technologies impacting boardrooms

On April 13, The Directors College welcomed guest panelist Mike Steep, Executive Director, The Disruptive Technologies and Digital Cities (DTDC) Program, Stanford University Global Projects Center for a conversation with Michael Hartmann, Principal of The Directors College to explore the acceleration of disruptive technologies (i.e. supply chain logistics, e-commerce, cyber/data integrity, work from home) over the past 24 months, the ensuing opportunities and risks, and key impacts to business leaders and board directors.

The past two years have seen a huge acceleration of technology development, causing the gap between innovation and implementation and regulatory capabilities to expand rapidly.

The line is blurring between consumer and enterprise technology. The regulatory environment is not keeping up and often users do not understand the uses or privacy of their data. Work from home gave bad actors the ability to utilize consumer electronics, AI and machine learning to infiltrate corporate accounts and changing business models are blending consumer and enterprise needs in search of new revenue opportunities.

Ecommerce is approaching $1 Trillion, accounting for ⅓ of all retail sales. On the present curve, ½ of all retail sales will be online within the next 5 years. Some brick and mortar locations are becoming more like showrooms, pushing sales and customer service online to save on costs and provide enhanced customer experiences. The data gleaned from online selling is also enabling retailers to identify and fulfill other consumer needs that may not have been understood in store and segment their offerings to cater to a broader audience.

No one yet has the ability to control or manage their own privacy and the data collected and used from user activity. No one even knows who is truly liable for breaches and harm arising from new technologies and methodologies like predictive analytics through an increasingly complicated continuously connected value chain.

90% of leaders and directors are simply unaware. In the last 6 months cybersecurity insurance rates have doubled and coverage has lessened. Even the insurance companies are struggling to close the gap.

For now, boards need to act in triage mode and have three things in place:

Become more aware of early stage technologies that are being developed that will disrupt their business,

Continuously re-evaluate how I.T. is managing data to understand how to get the cream of the data crop to help fuel longer term strategic decisions, and

Get educated on the risks and opportunities along the connected value chain.

Once these basics are understood, then work can truly begin to create effective oversight processes and controls to mitigate risk and advance emerging opportunities.

Listen to this session on the Collaboratorium Podcast Series: https://open.spotify.com/show/14ojZdQ2O9bhaozwNNBcjj