We have been experiencing a global, historic discontinuity over the last two months. It has forced us to react quickly, and adapt to and cope with major shifts in our personal and professional lives. We now have an opportunity to rebound and innovate in ways that allow us to emerge even stronger than before. After all, throughout history, times of crisis have offered us unique conditions that help us to step out of our preconceived notions and make changes more quickly and effectively than we would otherwise.
Instead of recreating a new version of “normal,” or merely adapting to the world we find ourselves in, we can shape our future with intention and creativity. We can seize and create new opportunities and find new pathways to growth.
So, are you with me? If so, let’s reinvent our business in ways that will equip us to move gracefully and successfully through the changes, pick up market share, and transform our industry!
We are in a new environment that includes social distancing, boosting our immune system, wearing masks, working remotely, and paying attention to our personal and collective health. These changes have generated unique challenges that need solutions. These needs have not yet been fulfilled, which means they are potent opportunities to create new products, services, and protocols—opportunities to move beyond “business as usual.”
Join me in a space out beyond yesterday’s normal to an open playing field of excitement and possibility. As you intentionally create the world you want to live in, let your focus be creativity, innovation, and the joy of discovery.
Are there some creative ideas or possibilities for your business in this new climate of life beyond the pandemic? Can you offer new products and/or services in a different manner or through different channels? Can you offer new products and/or services to your current market, or a new market? Has a new societal need surfaced that you think you can fill?
Before the Great Depression, Kirk Christiansen, the founder of the LEGO brand, used to build homes and household products. Because few people were building homes during the Depression, Christiansen started to experiment with new products: toys. First, he built these toys out of wood, and then, a new material called plastic. His was the first company to make blocks out of plastic, and it would come to create the famous binding plastic LEGO bricks. That was a huge pivot in business that rendered great rewards—and it was born from a creative inquiry that can inspire each and every one of us: “What else can I do, now that circumstances beyond my control have changed my regular business?”
Take this time to be creative and playful. Instead of allowing your ideas to be dictated by pragmatism. Brainstorm and think outside the box—and like Christiansen, have fun while you’re at it! Ask every one of your team members to join you in a stimulating, imaginative game of reinventing your business or industry.
Begin by setting aside time with employees in a safe environment with no judgments or assumptions. One of my clients invited their team to spend three hours together to create a completely new way of executing their business. Other organizations are having a one-hour innovation call each week during which employees bring new ideas and capitalize on the creative synergy of the team to generate new directions.
Be open to what is unfamiliar, counterintuitive, and without precedent. And don’t just ask your employees for their ideas once. Creativity is an iterative process, and you will see how innovation thrives when you do this process numerous times. People begin to relax, open up, think big, and generate exciting new possibilities. They will piggyback on each other’s ideas, which is where the real magic begins.
I am thrilled about the open field of possibilities that is forming before all of us. Our global situation has fundamentally shifted—it won’t go back to normal, and it shouldn’t. It should move us forward into powerful new models for life and business.
I invite you to be one of the innovators responsible for shaping our “new normal.” Let these times be a compass for your innovation. May you be one of the trendsetters who helps to transform your industry for the better!