“The Art of Disruption: How to Shake Up Business, Industries and Culture For the Better.”
Disruption, a term that has come to be associated with change and innovation, was the topic of the first panel discussion at the Synergy Global Forum today. Moderated by Jesse Kirshbaum, CEO of Nue Agency, the questions and answers were a 45-minute crash course in entrepreneurship, culture, and growth. The panelists, Bonin Bough, host of CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles; Gerard Adams, co-founder of Elite Daily and creator of Fownders; and Billie Whitehouse, CEO of Wearable X, brought their charisma and passion to the stage as they discussed their own projects, pain points, and future goals and trends.
It is easy to think that change happens from the top down, but as Gerard Adams pointed out, that is not always the case. “Disruption happens on the edges, many times from the bottom up by making things accessible and affordable.” Adams, the creator and CEO of Fownders, a learning ecosystem designed to help entrepreneurs develop their skills, aims to gain “fownders” in every city across the globe by teaching relevant skill sets. “The skills you need today [emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy], are very different skills from what was needed 20 years ago.”
These new skills, or soft skills as it sometimes is called, are part of what helps to induce growth in companies in the 21st century. “Everyone wants growth,” Bonin Bough noted. “Those people who are willing to identify the gaps and pay attention to where consumer attention is focused will do much better than those who don’t.” Growth involves getting the right talent in place. “Talent will be the single biggest determinator of growth in an organization. If we don’t believe in people and invest in talent, the people nor the business will go anywhere.”
Noting the advancements of messaging technology and promoting his book [with his number on it for anyone to text him (not kidding)] Txt Me: Your Phone Has Changed Your Life. Let’s Talk About It, at the same time, Bough noted too that messaging technology is a good example of focusing on where customers’ attention is. Everyone has a mobile device which gives customers increasingly more control over what they read and watch as well as over their buying, spending, shopping, and relationships. Brands and companies that pay attention to such advancement are practically delving into a new language, a new way of communicating that is different from just a decade ago.
Billie Whitehouse, Wearable X CEO, played off of this point by noting there is a necessary learning curve to understand this new language. Eventually, this new form of language will enable “body messaging” which is using the body as an interface of communication. “Design for our bodies is not just about solving problems. It is about designing for grace, beauty and the subtle way we live. [The future] aims at “putting a context around symbols that exist (like emojis) and understanding language in a mathematical sense, an empathy algorithm,” Whitehouse said. The panelists agreed that body design would be a new language before evolving into a discussion surrounding small businesses.
Small businesses are “the lifeblood that drives the country,” Bough noted. But in order for small businesses to grow, it needs two things: a toolset to grow and access to capital. Lack of these two things are what force many small businesses to close or to fail and never recover. Bough uses his vast experience in larger companies to help small businesses grow. “If we never appreciate small businesses, we will never become who we could be as a society.”