Personal Finance

Reinvent now or languish as your rivals succeed

Reinvention

Summary

  • Despite all the preaching, making a genuine change, both as individuals and in business is tough.
  • One of the initial steps is just breathe, to see the current reality for what it is.
  • Reinvention can be down all sorts of pathways, including taking on an ecosystem business model.

“Change is the real result of all true learning. It involves three things: first, a dissatisfaction with self, a will or a need; second, a decision to change – to fill the will or need, and third, a conscious dedication to the process of growth and change, the wilful act of making the change, doing something” said Leo Bascaglia.

Despite all the preaching, making a genuine change, both as individuals and in business is tough. One of the initial steps is just breathe, to see the current reality for what it is. Reinvention can be down all sorts of pathways, including taking on an ecosystem business model. Partnership of Rwanda and with Qatar Airways, continually ranked as one of the world’s top airlines, is a prime example.

STEP1 – THINK ABOUT DOING THE SAME OLD THINGS

Same old thinking, will create the same old results. “Doing the same things, and expecting different results, is the definition of insanity” to paraphrase Albert Einstein.

Think about being warm and comfortable, perhaps saying all the right things, like: “At Widget we are embracing change and innovation, creating a new tomorrow today, to serve you better.” But despite the vacuous PR like hype, at the heart of the matter, nothing has really shifted, same old ‘in the box’ thinking. No questioning of fundamental assumptions about the business, markets and value creation. Then a mini coronavirus like event occurs, to provide a heart attack like shock to the system, perhaps it’s the loss of a big contract, or new entrants suddenly gobbling up market share. At this point, the pain of doing nothing, becomes greater than exploring making a shift. Change is enroute. One of the operating [survival] principles of being human, is that we think we are always right. Consider the possibility that you may be missing something. Next step is simple.

STEP 2 – JUST BREATHE

Go to a quiet place, sit in your chair, get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus only on your breathing. Feel the air just going in and out of your nostrils, focus just on your breathing. Chances are you will have difficulty focussing for just 10 seconds, before your mind runs to some other event, some other story, some other fantasy. Philosopher and historian Yuval Harari points out that if we can’t focus on the reality of breathing in, breathing out, how can we address the reality of the bigger problems facing us ?

Whether it’s meditation, or going for long walks, get out of your normal routine and just relax, let your mind wander. Here the aim is to think in ways you had not thought before – leading towards making a change.

STEP 3 – MAKING A SHIFT – THE CASE OF ECOSYSTEM THINKING

Reinventing the business, taking on a new approach, could be in all sorts of directions, an ecosystem business model is just one example. Perhaps instead of head on competing, it may be possible to partner, with those considered to be your competitors ? All with the aim of delivering a unique value proposition to customers.

Just about everyone is interacting, ‘doing business’ with a wide range of organisations, where in reality, your firm is part of an ecosystem. Today, leading organisations across sectors have concluded that they can no longer play it alone, as they contemplate ways for their business to expand, innovate, disrupt or just compete. Often the solution may be to address challenges faced, based on the ability to partner within an ecosystem of cross industry players, that work together to define, build and execute market-creating solutions, that innovate and create jobs.

Rwanda is a small landlocked country of 12 million, in the middle of Africa. In the past, the World Bank has referred to it as one of the economic miracles of Africa. National carrier RwandaAir had been making losses of roughly close to $ 50 million each year since its creation.

What’s the solution to stop bleeding red ink ? Keep doing what one has already been doing, or see things differently? Rwanda sees itself as a logistics and trade hub for Africa. Towards this end it is building a new Bugesera airport (east of Kigali), a project worth nearly $1.3 billion, joined by an ecosystem partner, the world class Qatar Airways taking a 60 per cent stake in December 2019. With Qatar Airways going on to take a 49 per cent share of RwandaAir, creating a technical and financial partnership to implement a hub business model, challenging the dominance of Ethiopian Airlines.

“It will be a very efficient hub in a very stable country in the heart of Africa. We see Africa as another region that has huge growth potential,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker.

Kenyan tourism, providing roughly 8 per cent of GDP tends to go up and down, often tied to cycles of unrest, and tragic events like the attacks on Westgate and Dusit. How is it possible to work with ecosystem partners to promote tourism ? While domestic tourism has a role to play, Kenya relies on international arrivals for significant revenues and a multiplier effect in job creation.

Just about every North American city has a ‘film and media production liaison unit’ to serve as friendly responsive [cut the red tape] ‘one stop shop’ encouraging productions to shoot in their cities. Prime example would be Toronto, where shows like Suits were shot, masquerading as New York City. [Over 7 years, Megan Markel, now the Duchess of Sussex, lived in a Toronto town house for nine months in each of those years, while on the show.] Whenever you see a show with an American flag featured prominently in the initial scenes, chances are the production was filmed in Canada.

Friendly Toronto describes itself as “one of the top five screen-based industries in North America with a full scope of industry connections, services, suppliers, talent, crew, facilities and locations delivering everything required for success in pre-production through post production.”

Kenya with its breath taking scenery and talent, has to do the same. In process, displaying the country in positive light, making people itching to book a flight to see for themselves. Kenya has to be home to more films like the block buster film “Out of Africa” that did wonders for Kenyan tourism.

Prime example of using ecosystems, based on a platform model, is Amazon [started in garage 30 years ago] that in 2020 had a staggering $ 386 billion in revenues. “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying” said Jeff Bezos, now chairman of Amazon.

David J. Abbott is a director at aCatalyst Consulting. [email protected]