News Details

Master Class: Make Disruption Count Through Lean Platform Innovation

19.04.18 AHK Süd-Afrika - News-Hauptkategorie

Johannesburg, 12 April 2018 – In the modern-day rat race, the name of the game is no longer “eat or be eaten”, but rather “disrupt or be disrupted”. All businesses can expect some form of disruption, be it changing customer requirements, the introduction of new technologies, different demographics, or the demand for personalisation. The key to success now lies in how a company responds to or anticipates disruptions.

To assist its member companies in their future success, the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a workshop that was led by Mr Ansgar Pabst, the principle owner of APC Consulting. The workshop was titled, “Make Disruption Count Through Lean Platform Innovation” and focused on the application of platforms-based business models. This master class drew the attention of companies in retail, energy and skills development, among others. Many participants expressed a desire to use this new knowledge to deal with the challenges of digitalisation and to keep in step with the developments of Industry 4.0. Others were looking to improve their company’s customer service and improve customer experience.

Mr Pabst kicked off the workshop with a look at a series of examples of companies that operate through platforms. These case studies included the likes of Uber and Airbnb. These companies have very few physical assets, but possess a tremendous reach and an extensive database.

“What has worked in the past will not work in the future,” Mr Pabst stated. What isn’t broken, may not need fixing, but it may fall into obsolescence instead. Customer demands are changing and organisations must change their systems to meet those new demands. To this end, two elements become vital to a business looking to make the most of the opportunities that are born from disruption: an open organisational culture led by the CEO and agility in operations. This would require a huge change in the mind-set of management teams, particularly in large organisations. “Think like a start-up,” Mr Pabst reiterated.

Platform-based systems and thinking take some getting used to, but the benefits (such as reducing risk due to owning fewer assets) are well worth it. In an age, in which companies can no longer rely solely on market growth, platforms help companies migrate their value.

Mr Pabst spent the last session of the workshop guiding participants through his 5-step process to platform business models. Participants were invited to interact with Mr Pabst and with each other over the course of the workshop and most did just that – sharing experiences, asking questions, and examining challenges. One challenge that may be the most difficult to overcome is for companies to shift their focus off of their competitors and on to customer-focused, bespoke solutions.

Overall, participants were happy with what they took away from the workshop as well as the opportunity to network with other Chamber members in a friendly – and at times downright jovial – atmosphere.

About Ansgar Pabst Consulting
Ansgar Pabst holds a MBA in Strategy & Innovation and is the principal owner of a consultancy specialising in Disruptive Retail Strategies, Platform Innovation and Red Teaming ( and Ansgar currently consults both incumbents and new entrants wishing to disrupt or facing disruption. Educated in Germany with international senior executive experience (Samsung, Lidl, Walmart) in Retail, Consumer Goods and FMCG (Germany, Scandinavia, UK, US, Australia & Saudi Arabia), Ansgar combines academia and practical insights to formulate an authoritative view on disruption and the strategic response to it.

Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been operating in Southern Africa for over 65 years. Bringing together potential business partners is one of our key service offerings. We foster business links between Germany and Southern African companies through comprehensive and target group oriented researches, workshops, seminars and business delegations that bring you in contact with competent business partners in your industry. Contact the Chamber to get connected with German and southern African businesses at; or call +27 11 486 2775.