“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” – Bertoit Brecht
We live in a world of change. That’s been true of everyone who’s ever walked the Earth, but it’s even truer for us today. Things change at an almost unbelievable rate. Just for a little perspective – there have been more patents filed in the US since 2000 than in the 50 years prior to that combined.
I don’t think it takes many statistics to prove the point. I haven’t met anyone in the last 5-10 years who thinks the pace of change is slow or going to slow down any time soon. So what does that mean for us?
One thing it means is no idea or innovation in your organization should be quickly tossed aside without consideration. I’m not suggesting every idea is a good one, but things that you never considered 10-20 years ago may (and in many cases will) become the norm in the next 5-10 years.
For example, think about products or services you offer. Traditionally, customers buy what you’re selling. It’s a one-time transaction, you may provide some service after the sale, then when they’ve used up or broken down whatever they bought, they hopefully come to you for another one.
In today’s environment, more and more companies are getting away from that model. The idea of a “Subscription economy” (rather than buying the product, you essentially pay something each month for the right to use it) is taking hold globally. Customers are less enthusiastic about a big cash expenditure up front; why not pay a smaller monthly amount and get the same product?
Sharing services is another model that’s becoming more popular. Perhaps you need a specific machine or skill, but you really can’t justify buying or hiring it alone. Maybe you find others (maybe locally, maybe regionally, maybe globally) who need the same thing and you pool your resources to get it.
Even providing internal functions is changing. If my organization is small but could use help with human resources, and so is yours, and so are three or four others, perhaps we get together and pay a full-time human resources person that none of us could or would fund alone.
The point of all of this is we have to be thinking of new and better ways to delivery our products and services, and to fill our internal needs. Things we may be uncomfortable with may end up being answers to problems we’re currently struggling with. Think about your organization and a key challenge you’ll face in 2015. What changes in your organization could help you meet that challenge? How might you address it differently than you ever have before?
You must change to succeed. Don’t wait for a change you don’t want – choose your change now.