How can your business innovate to Build Back Better?
The Covid-19 epidemic has brought sudden and dramatic changes to our personal and business lives. It has been a very tough time for everyone. For businesses many markets, opportunities and business practices have been changed for good by the COVID-19 experience. We are just emerging from a period of Lockdown that has shackled and constrained how business is conducted. Only now are business leaders beginning to consider how they can safely emerge and break free of some of these constraints. Seeing this kind of change as an opportunity for the business to innovate to Build Back Better, rather than a challenge is the kind of thinking that is now required for businesses to prosper in a sustainable, resilient recovery.
Even in this difficult time, there have been some positive elements. An obvious example has been the greater use of videoconferencing to enable both business and social engagement. Indeed, some business leaders now doubt if “normal” ways of doing business, such as physical face to face meetings to discuss business deals or to present new ideas in person, will be returning any time soon.
What is more the trend to work from home has provided many individuals and organisations with significant benefits in terms of resetting work life balance and increased flexibility and productivity. These gains will not be given up. In effect Lockdown has accelerated the digital transformation of your business. This is set to be an enduring trend in the post-Lockdown economy. It is a change that will transform some businesses and process, that will open up new business models and opportunities.
So, now is a good time for leaders to consider these trends and changes and their impact on their business.
Harnessing the power of the changes accelerated by the Pandemic
To understand more about these trends, just start to think about what else has changed so far in the health crisis for you personally or your business. Any changes will not have just affected you or your business; it will also have impacted your client’s businesses or in some cases has affected wider society. Topical examples include lower levels of tolerance for social injustice or elevated concerns about health and safety. All these changes are impacting markets and creating new opportunities that your business may be able to leverage as a way to innovate to Build Back Better.
- Does the business need to make changes that embed some of the better practices adopted in the Lockdown, such as the shift to more remote working?
- If current working practices are going to be the “new Normal”, then what are the implications for the business infrastructure and employment policies? Does the business need to move from short terms measures introduced to survive the Lockdown to something that is more fit for purpose?
- Nobody would set off on a touring holiday with a mini pulling a caravan. So, why should the business be limited to tactical changes that you made for survival, when , permanent changes more fit for the longer term are now needed to enable the business’s future success?
- How can business leaders and their key colleagues in the management team consider the other trends affecting the business ? How can this team collectively consider these trends and the implications for your business?
- Are there opportunities arising from the crisis that can offer your business a better pathway to innovate to Build Back Better?
Discovering more new opportunities in the post-Lockdown economy
The trend for virtual meetings is a good example of a practice that was being used by a few organisations before the crisis, but that has now become ubiquitous. There are similar trends that also existed before Covid-19, but which have now been accelerated in the crisis and that are set to form part of the “new normal” .
- Many fine dining restaurants have shut during the Lockdown to ensure the safety of their clients. The growth in “dark kitchens”, who provide specialist cuisine to take away food distributors provides a similar quality and diversity of food for clients to consume in the safety or their own home.
- A renewal awareness of the value of the exercise has lead to massive growth in active transport, such as cycling. This trend now being actively supported by Government policy to bear down on emissions by improving active commuting.
- The shock of the Lockdown has seen consumers re-evaluate availability and resilience of their food suppliers with a growth in online and local grocery shopping
- From the negatively impacted global “just in- time” supply chains, many businesses are looking to diversify their overseas supply chains and processes. This is opening up supply chains to new suppliers.
- An important biproduct of the crisis has been to improve air quality in cities and a 17% (probably temporary) drop in greenhouse gas emissions. These changes provide a glimpse of how our environment could improve if new alternatives to high carbon transport were encouraged. This has important implications for all parts of pre-Covid transport chains as consumers seek less impactful forms of transport.
These examples typify major change trends that will persist in the post-Lockdown economy. It is these trends that will drive new opportunities that innovative businesses can consider in the developing a response to ensure their sustainable success in any recovery.
Using post-Lockdown trends as a way to innovate to Build Back Better
As we noted in a recent blog, evidence from the last major recession showed that those businesses that emerged successfully from the last economic crisis were those that acted quickly. That said, it can be challenging to find time to move quickly due to day to day pressures. For leaders this is especially challenging.
Business leaders will have to consider not just what they want to do about their response, but to ask if they have the expertise and / or the bandwidth amongst an already time constrained management team to do this properly.
Even if you decide you do have the expertise and you want to create the time to consider the businesses future, how can a leader get key colleagues together to discuss develop and get buy-in to any changes the business needs to make. In “normal” circumstances this is hard to do, but with the uncertainty relating to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, there are other obstacles. These include the:
- need to bring your team together safely given social distancing challenges and the continuing need for care of children or vulnerable family members
- inability to put time aside to research, assess and really understand the Covid-19 changes impacting your markets, whilst firefighting the ongoing impacts of the virus to keep the business running
- lack of certainty on an effective path to objectively assess and plan actions that will enable the business to innovate to Build Back Better
A way forward
The good news is that the Lockdown has accelerated the trends that are driving a wide array of opportunities for many businesses across a wide range of sectors.
Cambium has spent our Lockdown time, researching and thinking about the trends that will affect all businesses as we build our recovery. These insights have helped us create a framework that you and your leadership team can quickly apply to your business’s challenges and opportunities.
We deliver this entirely online using advanced collaboration tools which means that leaders and their teams can make progress even with current restrictions on time and location.
Because of our proven structured approach, the work is completed within several weeks on a fixed price basis with a cost profile equivalent to an off-site away day.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
If you want to learn more about this service, visit our website here. We would also be happy to have a quick Zoom / Teams / Skype chat, to explain how the process (Pivot to Prosper) works and to explore if it is right for your business.
We look forward to meeting you online, at a time convenient to you, very soon.
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