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. We have reached a stage that we don't just need to change the record, we need a whole new system to play music from.
For societies to advance and businesses to grow, we all need to play our part. 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 Everything that we know as accepted by the mass market is already outdated.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 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 on 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 be better understood and valued within corporations in order 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 becomes the new known elements and the process continues.
It requires a loss of control and zero leadership ego to create this continuous ability that develops and grows in oneself and supports others. 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 statistics will go through the roof!
Give your new development a chance. Understand the adoption rate (Rogers, 1983) 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.