As 2017 has shown, disruption is everywhere.

I have been struck, as I have spoken around the world, from Tehran to Hong Kong, London to Cairo, that disruption is impacting every business and industry I speak to.

The underlying message is that companies are simply NOT prepared. A study by PwC  earlier this year showed there is more to be lost by indecision, instead of assessing the impacts of disruption and planning for them. Those that will get ahead will be the ones that are digitally curious, that lean forward when disruption is mentioned and see it as an opportunity to drive a step change in their business.

As to the most fascinating and inspirational concept I have come across in the past 12 months, it is undoubtedly the use of blockchain for smart contracts. However, rather than looking backwards we should embrace what we have to look forward to in 2018. So, please take the time to read my top 5 tips below, on what we can expect from the Digital World in 2018.

1. Digital Disruption will make it to the boardroom with dedicated executives considering its impact. Think about who in your organisation should lead the thinking on this, and give them a seat on the board!

2. Consumers will start to understand the real power of their data and start to demand a fairer value exchange (or block companies entirely). Go beyond the GDPR regulations and treat your customer’s data as you would treat your own – consider partnering with customers rather than just exploiting their data for your purpose.

3. There will be more and more hacks and data breaches, forcing companies to demand that their employees adopt tighter security protocols such as two-factor authentication on their personal accounts. Are you ready for a data breach? Assume that it will happen to you and prepare your own ‘fire drill’ for when it does.

4. Distributed Ledger Technologies such as blockchain, will start to be built into the process and business models of large organisations. Learn how you can adopt this technology in your business.

5. Banking as we know it will transform, with open banking standards coming into effect and consumers wanting more real-time access to their accounts, using new smart apps from FinTech companies. If your business or organisation is outside the banking industry, establish a working party on how open standards could transform your industry and start talking to your industry groups to collaborate.

I hope you and your organisation are prepared for a very disruptive 2018!