Disruption – What Your Business Can Learn from Ajax Amsterdam

Everybody in our industry talks about disruption. If you are tired of it, maybe looking at it from the eyes of a football fan may help. For me this Champions League season Ajax Amsterdam is THE force of disruption. What can enterprises of any size, learn from it?

In my view these are the things Ajax is doing great this season and it is relevant for all of us.

  1. They have a game plan & a concept: Having a strategy and execution plan seems to be obvious for you business people and readers. I think some companies and people still act as they do not have a plan. And if you think you have on, you may consider challenging if the plan is the right one. In times where all talk about data driven disruption and the ambition to act like AirBnB, Amazon or Uber, companies need to have a concept (some call in governance) and a platform how to deal with their data as strategic asset, being ready for growth and unexpected change. For example what happens if a new merger happens and you have to merge two product portfolios and two customer groups together?
  2. They have speed: Yes young players, usually have the power to run faster. Not a surprise right. But Ajax, has not only young players on the pitch they know, when they have to bring speed, and when tactics into the play. Speed in business today is a do or die question. For example if you want to realize real-time recommendations or IoT based tracking and customer service. In the business world, new big data technologies allow this speed.
  3. They can adopt fast: A famous Germany head couch (Sepp Herberger) once said “the ball is round so that the game can change direction”. Hope my translation make sense. Also our brains have to be flexible to change direction, much more often than ever expected. Adopting to a new situation like being under pressure after your opponent has score a goal, requires to deal with the new situation. In a the data driven world this means you should have the flexibility to create and adopt new things, even it is not on the roadmap of your software vendor.
  4. Thy have automatisms: The talks about use of articial intelligence in business is more than omnipresent. For an athlete, in my view this is similar to train your body and brain at once. Many do this with Life Kinetic to be able to react fast and automated in complex situation, as I have seen it from Joachim Klopp (the current team coach of Liverpool FC) or Felix Neureuther (a German Ski racer, who just ended his career).

What is your view? Let me know. I will be meeting like minded people shortly in Olso on May 2, in London on May 14-16 and Berlin on May 16. Would be happy to see you there.

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