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‘Businesses should prepare for disruptive innovations’

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To survive in this era of technological advancement, businesses must innovate and disrupt their environments.

This, formed part of the submissions at the second day of the ongoing 2018 Social Media Week (SMW) in Lagos, yesterday.

Panellists’ at the Digital Transformation session with the theme: ‘Does your business have what it takes to survive in the digital age,’ posited that businesses must create a balance in innovation to stay afloat.

The General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, noted that digital transformation is intrinsic to the way people live their lives, adding that businesses should come up and do something disruptive in the economy so as to remain afloat.

Banuso said digital transformation is the present and the future, saying it has unlimited ways to disrupt even lives.

According to him, human capability must be augmented with technology.

The Microsoft Nigeria boss recalled that between 1960 and 1977, the country’s GDP was larger than that of India and China because it thrived on oil and made huge money, “but despite the robust economy, Nigeria jettisoned innovation. We were just importing, but the story has changed now. It is the other way round.”

“China and India have become two leading technology nations. They achieved this by innovating and investing in ICT-related activities. Today, they are disrupting the global economy.”

Banuso said Nigeria must invest in technology so as not to be left behind.

From her perspective, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) noted that disruption is the main agenda now globally.

Ugochukwu recalled that Uber has disrupted the transportation system across the globe; smartphone displaced the likes of Kodak; Netflix disrupted Blockbuster, adding, “disruption is fasting gaining momentum, so businesses must evolve and disrupt.”

The TEF chief said entrepreneurs must disrupt or be disrupted. She recalled that in the last three years, TEF agenda has shifted from granting of aids to enabling digital transformation.

She disclosed that for the new phase of the TEF empowerment programme going on across the 54 countries of the African Continent, about 108,000 applications have been received.

According to her, out of the $100 million budget for the programme, about $25 million has so far been spent, with $15 million going the way of Startups, while the remaining $10 million went into technology that enables the entire process.

At the “Teaching One million Lagosians to Code” session, the Special Adviser on Education to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, said the state is keen on creating a digital economy that will outlive the present regime.

Bank-Olemoh said Lagos remained open to private sector in the entire process. He stressed that government doesn’t run a business very well, hence the need for private sector partnership in the initiative.”

According to him, the coding programme would engender logical thinking needed for the 21st Century mega city. Currently, he said 65 per cent of Lagos population are youths. So, to keep them going, they must be engaged constructively.”

From his perspective, the Managing Director, Oracle Nigeria, Adebayo Sanni, said: “Looking at where the world is going now, we should look for what we need to do to move up the ladder of development in the Continent. Nigeria should move from oil led economy to a technology driven and service economy.”

Addressing participants at the GTB session, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Segun Agbaje, said technology is fast facilitating changes that were considered impossible about 30 years ago, and causing companies to grow exponentially rather than linear.

According to him, while there is no permanent solution to the challenge of fraud with the technology world, the “percentage of transactions that are susceptible to fraud is clearly immaterial to the larger level with the same technology. So, I don’t think that people should be scared.”

However, he said that ‘flexibility and adaptability’ are now the basics for banks and other business organisations to keep at par with the technology-driven business trends.

Agbaje, who addressed the forum on ‘Making sense of a world in motion’, said: “the currency today is access, not capital,” just as “collaboration and partnership are now critical and strategic to success, hence they have to become a platform to survive.”

Stating that innovative concepts drive today’s business world, he urged entrepreneurs to shun the fear of failure, adding that every new business concept must take change as it is given.

According to him, the only legacies that do not change but give businesses edge are values of integrity, transparency, hardwork and discipline.


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