Updated: 3 days ago
Please excuse the analogy in the title – and all my thanks to the owners, creators and producers of that great series for the idea. What in fact do I mean?
In a sense we seem to be paralleling that same period of history, 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.
Think back to watching the Downton Abbey series, come-on you did, we all did. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me aware of the social divide the world laboured under. In deference to that series I want you to turn on Netflix, sit down and watch the whole series again. You must!
This time, watch and learn how carefully and brilliantly that series took us through a period of social upheaval. With great acting, scripts and set design it captured us all. So, this time focus on, not just the challenges they all faced, the dramas of their life’s – look at the social change journey, from old English norms to Modernity.
The world is having its Downton Abbey 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. What Nonsense! They don’t even know the destination yet. We are still in the pre-war stage of Downton Abbey; we 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 your own business projects, are layers of Digitization technologies, digitizing Analogue design and thinking.
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!
Come on, get that Netflix running – you know you want to watch it again, and with this virus war we are now entering you may just have some time to spare… Ok so another thought that needs some expansion. The Downton Abbey turning point, the essential Catalyst for all that social turmoil that effected the 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 little good news, and 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 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 perhaps re-placed with on-line interactive webinars - saving us all from travel time and costs, the global pollution impacts and travel health risks associated.
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.
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 – This is thinking of yesterday.
The new employee will need to acquire, build and maintain 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/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 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, by helping them to develop and grow the skills your business 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. 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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