A Cure for Bygone Business Practices

Break out of everything you currently know. If you think that is completely unrealistic then you, more than anyone, need to read this. We live in a world where everything is seemingly easy. Apps are making our lives more seamless. Online services are growing at a rate of over 20% year on year, according to Statista. You no longer need to problem solve your daily life. At the same time diseases like Alzheimer’s are sadly on the increase. In this age of artificial intelligence and social networks, it’s as if we no longer have a reason to develop our mental, cognitive and social skills. As we grow out of old neural pathways, we are not creating new ones. At the same time, industries like retail and FMCG are in crisis. Unable to innovate nor engage. As a society, we are playing the same old record and expecting miracles. It won’t work. We have reached a stage that we don’t just need to change the record, we need a whole new system to play it sounds from.

For societies to advance and businesses to grow, we all need to play our part. You need to inch forward in accepting small changes. When anything becomes conventional, then it’s already obsolete. Everything that we know as accepted by the mass market is already outdated. If your business is dependent on the masses then you are in trouble. This challenge is compounded in the Middle East by a primarily franchised and licensed market across many industries. The business model is reliant on a tried and tested methods. In other words, it trusts totally on convention. This risk has not even been recognised by business leaders, let alone taken as a challenge to be solved.

In order to bring something new to your customers, you need to break tradition. Which is not going to happen when you insist on following the same strategies you have always followed, or hire people and ask them to do the same job that they did in their previous role. The dynamics of creativity must to be better understood and valued within your business if you want to have some sort of sustainable existence and long-term growth.

Creativity is a continuous process. It’s an open investigation where you take elements that are known and applying new ideas to find out what happens to the result. All aspects of the daily running of a business from strategy development, applied technology, team structures and new products and services must be subjected to this, all the time. Changing results become the new known elements and the process continues.

It requires a loss of control and zero leadership ego to create this continuous ability to develop and grow. It’s more akin to scientific experimentation rather than traditional business management. Suddenly, exciting things start to happen when you focus on the ‘what if’ and this sense of true curiosity can never happen in a climate of fear and failure. You need to let yourself and your teams off the hook. Get them involved and interested in the experiment. No-one knows the outcome but engagement and loyalty stats will go through the roof!

Once you have your new idea, give it a chance to succeed. Interestingly, while businesses are able to apply the Rogers’ classic Innovation Diffusion model (innovators, early adopters etc.) to media communications. Using influencer strategy as their Innovators to market to their followers or early majority. They stop short of applying the same strategy to new innovations which is what the theory was originally based on.

Give your new development a chance. Understand the adoption rate and use it to succeed. It means marketing to a minority. That requires focus and precision. Innovators and Early Adopters will account for only 15% of your total customer base. Reaching them with new products is crucial and you cannot do that with mass communication or traditional means. The answer to how you go about your new strategies will emerge from that same application of curiosity.

The health of our economic and social development is dependent on us throwing out what has become a gramophone in a new world. You need to start valuing creativity over convention and take curiosity into your business strategies and leadership skills.

In fact, your business, as well as our communities and societies, desperately needs curiosity more than anything else right now. The origin of the word, along with the word, curious, comes from the word, cure. Meaning restoring health. Perhaps if we all take the challenge of creativity on, we will start to see surprising benefits in other areas of our health.