July 08, 2020

Seeing the opportunities emerging from a crisis is not the same as being able to seize them

A crisis presents a choice – Dig in and ride out the storm, or choose to be bold and brave, ready to emerge ahead of those taking refuge.

For those who choose bravery the immediate challenge is motivating teams to bring intense focus, speed and agility to deliver new sources of value.

According to a recent McKinsey Report, although most executives agree that innovating their business will be critical, few feel equipped to face the challenge. Of 200 senior executives surveyed from a broad range of sectors, only 21% think they have the expertise, resources, finances and commitment to deliver new growth in the next 12 months.

We all know the changes brought about by COVID-19 can be a big opportunity for growth. By sector it varies, but amongst the highest; 71% in Healthcare systems and Services and 85% in Technology expect COVID-19 to be one of the biggest opportunities for growth in their industry.

‘Speed a driver for successful innovation’

Speed, now more than ever, is an important driver for successful innovation, as is the ability to persist despite the hardship that crisis imposes. Fast, focused and nimble are not always synonymous with larger organisations. All the more reason to engage a totally focused unencumbered independent resource to work alongside.

McKinsey’s report also highlights that a decline in focus on innovation is evident across every industry (with the exception of pharmaceuticals and medical products which are running at a 30% increase in spend). Previous crisis research suggests playing it safe may be a short-sighted decision right now. This current drop in innovation-led growth initiatives will have lasting consequences for the ability to grow in the years to come.

Predictably, the more prevalent approach has been to focus attention on four areas;
1 Concentration on core products and activities
2 Pursuing previously known opportunity spaces
3 Conserving cash
4 Minimising risk

‘What got you where you are won’t get you where you need to be’

Whilst it may seem a time to be cautious, now is the best time for innovation to capitalise on new growth opportunities materialising out of a changing world. What made a company successful in the past may no longer be possible during and after the crisis. I love to use the phrase “What got you where you are, won’t get you where you need to be in the future.”

In the future things are going to be different. Now is the time to consider how you redesign yourself for the new market landscape. Leaders must re-discover customer needs and evolve their business models to meet those needs.

The smarter approach from McKinsey suggests:
• Adapt the core to meet shifting needs
• Identify and address new emerging opportunities
• Re-evaluate innovation initiatives, prioritising and ensuring resources are allocated
• Build the foundations for post-crisis growth in order to remain competitive in the recovery period

‘Smallfry can help’

With proven success in creating innovation strategies and future road-maps, Smallfry can provide coaching and guidance By using a collaborative approach with clients to deliver their innovation strategies, Smallfry assist with generating future idea pipelines which are strategically aligned to promote a sound vision and roadmap for future success.

‘You can’t surf a wave once its washed over your head’

History suggests that companies that invest in innovation through crisis outperform peers during the recovery by around 30% over the market average. The problem is the natural tendency to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. However, another phrase I like “You can’t surf the wave once it’s washed over your head.” To catch the wave of opportunity you should be acting with urgency. Right now.

For anyone interested in exploring the next steps to take in order to seize this opportunity, we would be delighted to have a deeper discussion with you.

Steve May-Russell – Smallfry CEO.
Contact us on design@smallfry.com