As the COVID epidemic rounds through its second year, Gen Xers, like me, are happy to avoid airplanes. On average, compared to younger travelers, our houses are bigger (so why risk leaving?), we have kids at home to be with and care for, we have the seniority at work (so who is going to tell me I can’t work from home?). While younger Millennials are itching to escape smaller apartments for warmer beaches with friends or conferences with colleagues, we are happy to stay put.
In past posts we have addressed proximity in business: identifying a customer and delivering the product closer to the point of demand. However, we see that proximity extends to other divisions as well.
Is a difference in seconds truly significant? In swimming and racing, seconds make all of the difference for who comes out on top. In technology, we see this same idea carried across in relation to proximity: the product moves closer to the demand. Companies that prioritize proximity are most successful, and one of these companies is Mastercard.
Is it fair that teachers earn less than bankers or that nurses earn less than CEOs? The value you get to take home may have no correlation with the value you create in the world. What if you could capture what you really deserve? What if you could turn your unique capabilities, assets, and passion into more profit or income, while still doing what you love? If you understand just a few strategic principles, you can. Here is how.
In March of 2008, the United States’ national public radio system (NPR) seemed to have a fatal and too common choice: to bet on the past rather than the future. It’s the kind of decision that has initiated the fall of many once-great companies: Toys “R” Us, Polaroid, Borders, Macy’s, RadioShack, and BlackBerry, to name a few.
When an airplane hits turbulence, it seeks a new altitude. One without turbulence. Even better, one with tailwinds.
Now, COVID has certainly injected turbulence rarely seen in history. But is this turbulence universal? Is every sector of the economy under threat?
If you want to predict the path of innovation in your industry, consider one unifying strategic concept: proximity. Introduced by innovation guru Rob Wolcott, proximity is the theory that the production and provision of value moves ever closer to the point of demand. Viewing your industry through this lens can reveal new opportunities, help you clarify where to focus your innovation efforts, and help you better anticipate which innovations will thrive and which will fall.
We are dealing with unprecedented change invoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. What we need more than ever is a sense of hope. So, we’ve taken The Outthinker Process – a strategic process that helps business leaders step outside of conventional thinking to redesign their business models and strategies – and reformed it specifically for what we’re going through right now.
In March, as the reality of COVID-19 started taking hold, when my team received our fifth request in one day to postpone a keynote speech and my calendar was suddenly, unexpectedly, free for months, we sat down to discuss what to do. We figured that (a) other business thought-leaders are similarly, suddenly free and (b) many are wondering what would happen to the business they own or work.
As I write this, I’m resting in an elegant second-floor hotel lobby overlooking the cobblestone streets of a pedestrian shopping district in Dublin, Ireland. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve delivered nine hours of speeches and workshops, conducted three podcasts and radio show interviews, and come to appreciate the remarkable advances Northern Europe has made to become a vibrant technology innovation hub.