Updated: May 7
Your capacity to Innovate, to create new products and solutions. The capacity to develop the skills your business needs to meet those new paths, will determine what part you play.
Right now. A time of human challenge, of great turmoil and risk to life. Things will change, and human spirit will prevail. On the other-side of this global event we will be challenged as never-before with as much change as we are able to cope with, and for some too much. This article is really to prepare for innovation and creating new ways forward. The glimmer of hope that will succeed this period of gloom. How much hope will depend on your capacity to reinvent how you live, work and succeed on a daily basis in the new world we will be presented with.
In a sense we seem to be paralleling that same period in history they traversed after the Great War. We are on the Brink of change as Humanity. Social norms are crashing all around us. The old ways of doing things are being challenged, the status quo is about to be broken.
Doom and Gloom. Not so sure, humanity has fought back from times like these into great periods of reinvention and creation.
The world is having its Downton Abbey (post Great War) moment all over. As we transition into a new Digital age.
With no wish to offend anyone – most businesses I get to talk with have started, are on, or say they have completed the digitization journey. Some say its done. What, how! We don't even know the destination yet....
We are still in the pre-war stage of the Downton Abbey series; we only know great changes are about to occur.
We are on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
However, as you read this, we don’t yet know what those changes will be. Let me clarify that thought, most if not all projects - (go look carefully through your own business projects), are layer upon layer of Digitization technologies, covering over the underlying Analogue design and thinking. This will change rapidly - time to re-think what that will mean.
Let me illustrate that thought, I’m guilty of this, as we all are in some way, ripping my old Vinyl albums, ‘digitizing the analogue sound’ so I can play in ‘surround sound, digital perfection’ in the living room – job done? Well not quite, you can still hear some of the recording issues, scratches and marks gathered over years of playing – but hey its fully digital!
Just as happened in history we will have a a turning point. I think we are in that state now. The Downton Abbey turning point, the essential Catalyst - for all that social turmoil to happen that created a dramatic period of change, was the Great War.
Nothing, but nothing remained the same after the Great War. Covid-19 is our current Great War. With deference, acknowledgement and thanks to all who served in the Great War. Have no doubt this event in our time will be a bearer of very little good news, and a lot of very bad news. Messages from the front-lines will be confused, changed to protect the innocent, disguised to protect us from panic – all familiar tactics.
The other-side of this war, and there will be one – will be massive change. As the world surges to say; “We survived this, so bring on the Information Age we can handle that”.
And that is where the new journey will start.
So many ask "what plans do-we-make for the workplace of the future, how do we prepare, what will we need". The answer is - both you, and I don’t know. However, I’m convinced readiness for change is something we can do, prepare with flexible tools, start new thinking now – think only what and how this will change.
I want to add a little here about Innovation. Most businesses talk innovation. And only tweak their product lines to extend the existing returns from investments already made. Stretch-its life, take no risks, and call it evolution, but discuss Innovation.
Meanwhile the competitors (the ones you don’t see, or know about) are only looking at the ‘space your product or service occupies’ and are thinking of better ways (not to compete with existing business, products or services), to simply eliminate the need for existing products or services.
Lead with Innovation the rest will follow.
Your business will not come back from this period and be ‘as it was before'.
Too much will have changed. Look around you now, Coronavirus is generating new needs, new demands and new thinking, ideas are emerging to cater for example, for live Music Performances – choose, being crowded into a stuffy uncomfortable noisy venue (nope they’ve been banned), cheering and crap singers all around you, or engage with on-line, small venue performances, presented to me the ‘ticket holder’ in my lounge room – whole wall screen, surround sound, 8K vision or better. Think Holograms. Or better yet, can the screen idea altogether, and all old tech stuff, play it straight to my Holo-lens Headset for a fully immersive 3D experience.
Conferences re-placed with on-line interactive webinars - saving us all from travel time and costs, minimizing the associated global pollution impacts and travel health risks. Business meetings all shifted to on-line. Limiting wasted-time, travel and negative climate impacts. All-day travel commitments reduced to an hours meeting. 7+ productive hours returned to your available time-account, to use wisely.
Medicine will change in response to new demands, on-line consultations, meetings with Doctors and Specialists - new technologies that treat you as the customer, not a product that needs you to move along the production line at the speed the system demands. Be prepared for medical centers to appear in shopping centers - access, parking, places people go with easy transport options...New digital analytical options - walk-in full body scanning, prevention ahead of the curative process. Big data, Cloud technologies will play-out for 'while-you-wait-responses' to blood test data.
The Grand Prix in Australia was cancelled. Will that be the last one? It certainly could be – we all love to watch it, but what will we be watching next - Electric-cars or Hydrogen powered racing cars. 'Change is a Coming' - thanks to Bob Dylan for that one. V8's the worlds 'racing dinosaurs' have taken to the virtual track to keep racing...
These changes all require a level of readiness, yes, but what? I can only think the current reliance of joining your new job/ business with raw degree level skills, and hope for training from the business you join, to get you qualified to do the job – is yesterdays thinking.
The new world-era employee will need to acquire, build and maintain their marketable skills for the 'future state we will live in'. Those skills will be ‘sold’ to the customer with the need, at the time the need exists. Does this change the whole notion of an employee – it may do – actually. Yes.
Let me give you an example – I want to be a Data Scientist – they’re going to need those. I get all the skills and associated knowledge I need. You take me on for the period of the project. During that project, I will be assigning my time and skills to the next and future project, with another organisation or project. This is my motivation to maintain and enhance my skills. My approach at Life-Long-Learning. So, use my skills well, while you have me in-house.
And treat me well, so I'll come back, if you need me.
Skills will hold the high-ground in our future. Business winners will be ones that embrace, recognize and develop those people with Skills – keeping them close and nurtured, helping them to develop and grow the skills, your business and they will need next.
Consider what and how your business will emerge from this global event. What will change? How will you execute a new business model. Consider and reflect on Innovation, think of new ways to build a business, new services. Think how a potential competitor, product or service would displace the need for yours. Gain insights from that thinking, on how they would do that, what could they do to achieve that. Think how you would displace your own business.
How would you re-invent your business on a blank sheet of paper - no conditions or restraints.
Use the down-time in your business caused by world events to be ready for change, re-think and re-invent your future....
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