The world is upbeat about the changes in economic activity. Consumers, customer, patients, guests and clients are all spending more than recently (well, a few month ago). We want to feel upbeat about positive change and will look for signs of change to support our views of the major growth cycle we are about to experience. Our “brains” translate the recovery as a trend and the feeling of “it will all be ok” sets in.
With this phenomena comes the deep rooted paranoia that forces us to look at alternatives. We need to rethink why we did things in a certain way and re-look at certain decisions and behaviors during the “bad times”. If you are in a corporate setting this gets amplified as everybody wants to make a mark on the new era where positive thinking will result in good returns, major returns and overall a new era of growth.
This brought me to the conclusion that we need recessions more than growth periods to stimulate innovation. Yes, I know, many people have written about and discussed the reasons why you should innovate during a recession, but this is different. People need to be constrained, scared and shaken before they feel upbeat enough and ready to move onto new things.
We have noticed major activity in our services clients, especially in banking and telco’s, to the extent that most now have “redesign the business” mandates or initiatives. Executives are ready to make major leaps forward in testing new innovations to drive competitiveness. For those that believe that a redesign is not necessary, be warned that when a larger collective initiate “change”, typically a major shift in an industry’s competitiveness results.
The changes will probably come in three stages:
1. Initiate by testing options: this is where organizations reorganize and reshape their top teams for optimal redesign mandates. This requires strong leadership and decision making capabilities to get the correct changes approved. Some will be disciplined and purposeful and others will be add-hoc and unfocused.
2. Spend money: a redesign program is typically messy as many of the dimensions of change are not tested and might result in poorer performance in the interim. The “business case” culture is challenged and a more “benefits oriented” approach is followed where holistic returns are expected. As experimentation with technology is not often liked by business people, technology will be implemented prematurely and result in major redesign initiatives after this phase.
3. Deal with the aftermath: only some of the organizations that embarked on change initiatives will reap the benefit. This will result in a new era of corrective action, with a new kind of business that is highly automated, efficient delivery oriented, client intimate, and well integrated. The mandate of survival versus reshape will start all over again.
Just think about the changes in banking, telco’s, insurance, let alone manufacturing over the last 20 years in technology and automation, legislation, delivery mechanisms, size of markets, etc and the picture gets interesting… we are about to enter one of the most intense periods of re-design, the world has ever experienced.