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‘Our new landscape needs a new compass’

How can you become change and innovation ready, so you’re optimised to take advantage of this shifting landscape? asks Doug.

THE future’s already here – it’s just not evenly distributed, the author William Gibson said.

We’re all in the same boat. For the first time in living memory, every human being on the planet is experiencing the same thing owing to Covid-19. Yet, we’re fed up hearing about this ‘unprecedented event’. We’re fed up not being able to plan ahead with any certainty, whether for a holiday or for our business. We’re fed up meeting people and doing business though a screen.

Still, there’s a sense of optimism. The vaccine roll-out has been hugely successful so far. We’re ensuring the minimisation of new variants and learned new ways to get vaccines to market fast.

We’ve had a shock to the system. A shock to health, business, our way of life. We just want to get back to business-as-usual.
But we need to change. There’s no business-as-usual. We’re more digitally connected than ever before as a result of working from home. Digitalisation is going to increase not decrease. The skies are still reasonably empty. People are walking and cycling in greater numbers. There’s little else we can do in lockdown. The air is cleaner. Emissions have reduced.

However, there are increasing challenges, this Vuca (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world is here to stay. This landscape is here to stay. We’re not going to be able to grow our businesses in the way we were able to before. Annualised P&L plus 10%.

This new landscape needs a new compass. We need new tools, skills and most of all, mindset in order to navigate and then map the way ahead.

There are so many things to consider: clients’ needs; legislation change; budget impacts; winning new orders; delivering quality work profitably; attracting talent; the list goes on. This is before we glance beyond our immediate focus and consider the impact of climate change, the race to net zero carbon, digitalisation, Industry 4.0, and fragile global supply chains.

The organisations that are committed to digitalise operations and implement sustainable ways to design out waste will thrive. If they can also develop products and services that can be optimised for longer in ways that regenerate natural systems, they’re going to be more in demand than those who don’t.

Resilience is key. On an individual and business level, but this period of time does provide an opportunity to ensure your current business model is fit-for-purpose today, but also resilient for the future. One way to do that is to explore new business model options.

This needs commitment and a review of your customers, supply chain and other stakeholders. What unmet needs could create new value opportunities? What trends do you see in the market that would incentivise new value propositions and ways of creating, delivering, and capturing value?

I’m not suggesting you bet your future on black, instead take a design approach to fine-tuning your current business model while exploring additional ways you could create new value for your customers. The industry works in a particular way with price a key driver.

This can lead to commoditisation and lots of value being left out there. Still, from the research I’ve carried out over the past five years, most respondents agree the industry isn’t only ripe for change, but ripe for disruption.

How can you become change and innovation ready, so you’re optimised to take advantage of this shifting landscape? Too early and there’s actually a disadvantage. Too late and someone else grabs the value.

I suggest focusing on your current business optimisation is key, however, how many of you are scanning the horizon, looking for signals of market change or trends emerging and are adjusting or exploring new business model options that’ll place you at the centre of that new marketplace?

Whoever moves at the right time is going to create new market opportunities and competitive advantage.

This may all sound hugely challenging but there are structured processes to help any organisation that has the commitment to consider new ways of thinking and doing. These structures support the winning combination of greater insight, business resilience and innovation readiness. It’s an engine for sustainable growth. I’ll discuss this more in the next issue.
Peter Drucker said: ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’. Are you ready to create yours?

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