According to the predictions of trend watchers and governments around the world, a sizable economic recession is underway. Wars, pandemics, and other economic and political crises have followed one another in rapid succession, and they will continue to do so in the months and years to come. Research suggests that our new reality will be one of the successive crises and significant fault lines: a seemingly gloomy forecast that has left many entrepreneurs unsettled and uneasy about what is to come. And yet there is hope.
In the next few months, organizations that manage to turn turmoil into new ideas and that capitalize on new opportunities will prove strong enough not just to survive the recession – but to reap its benefits, too.
Survival of the fittest
Darwin already knew it over a century ago: those who can best adapt to change are most likely to survive. The same is true for brands, companies, and governments in an ever-changing world. Elements that have made an organization successful in the past will not necessarily do so in the future. In times of crisis, existing models will no longer deliver the results we expect. As a result, it has become more important than ever for organizations to truly and thoroughly adapt to the new reality.
The significant number of bankruptcies in recent years has shown that there is an acute need for better companies, brands and governments that have the ability to respond to the new reality more swiftly and in a more intelligent way. Today, consumers are switching between brands, products and channels with more flexibility than ever, and their needs and priorities are changing faster than we have ever seen before. The pressure to surf this continuous wave of change is enormous, and organizations that do not manage to adapt fast enough will be among the first to succumb. But as an organization, how can you truly adapt to a situation that changes constantly? Or, better yet: how can you outsmart it?
Future-oriented entrepreneurship is not a secret code you can crack. Nobody knows exactly what is required to face the post-COVID era and the upcoming recession successfully. Moreover, opportunities and challenges can present themselves in entirely different ways for different types of organizations. That being said; brands, companies and governments that are considered future-proof generally have two main elements in common: vision and agility. Future-proof organizations know what they stand for and what they are working towards in the long term while maintaining the flexibility to respond to changes swiftly. And this last characteristic might just prove to be the most important one, since ‘the new normal' is not a static reality, but a complex landscape that changes and evolves constantly.
This is not the first time that we as a society have faced the challenge of a recession, and flexibility has proven to be the key to success time and again in the past. The catch? In many organizations, existing business models do not cater for the type of flexibility that is required to face the challenges of tomorrow. The only way to change that is by thoroughly auditing the structures at the basis of those organizations – and by completely and radically rewiring them.
Sounds risky, radical innovation in the run-up to a recession? Not really. Research shows that companies that focused on innovation and change during the 2009 recession reported growth numbers of 30% above the market average for years after the crisis. They came out of recession stronger than competitors who stuck to familiar patterns. So, despite the gloomy outlook, recessions have also proven to offer plenty of opportunities to reinvent ourselves – and our organizations – in a smart and creative way to better respond to changes in an unstable market. In order to do that effectively, however, the key is knowing exactly what needs to change, and how.
To successfully change, organizations have to let go of existing patterns and not be afraid to embrace new tools or unconventional processes. Only then can they identify – and seize – new opportunities. That is why, at Restless Minds™, we are strongly committed to creative transformation. We help organizations audit their operations, openly assess where and how things can be improved, and come up with unexpected diagnoses and out-of-the-box solutions to streamline both internal and external processes: from how the organization is wired to how it presents itself to consumers and much, much more.
This unique and bold approach requires radical commitment, but it also has the potential to bring about significant positive effects. The correct creative rewiring of an organization can boost its efficiency and productivity, increase flexibility, deepen employee loyalty, and build customer relationships in entirely new ways. And that is precisely what organizations need to stay strong in times of crisis.
Whichever issues a brand, company or government is facing and whichever industry they operate in: a critical, open mind and a creative take on transformation can help streamline the organization to make it more flexible and optimally prepare it for survival in uncertain times. More, even: by learning how to identify and seize the opportunities that truly fit the purpose of their newly-streamlined organization, entrepreneurs will be able to better respond to unexpected circumstances and capitalize on them, allowing them not just to survive but thrive in a changing market. That is how, with creative transformation, we can ultimately build a world full of strong, flexible companies, brands and governments that will not just passively undergo the future, but that will take an active role in mastering the new reality and making it work better for everyone in it.
At Restless Minds™ we are convinced that the times ahead are not a reason for entrepreneurial paralysis. More, even: it is the perfect catalyst to develop creative and innovative changes that will make organizations more flexible, more efficient, and stronger than ever. Do you feel like something needs to change, but are you not sure where to start? We are happy to help!