Embracing the inevitable forces of change for growth

Movement and change are constant in our lives, and seemingly ever more so today. Change is inevitable. Change is both desired and feared by us as individuals, society, organizations, and the planet. Ignoring change and accepting the status-quo offers little motivation for growth. Today’s industry leaders have no guarantee of being the leaders of the future. Our planets’ resources have no guarantee of being never-ending in their supply.
As our wellbeing needs and expectations change, organizations need to continuously evolve. By embracing change and continuously exploring new ways to create value — be it in existing markets, extensions of, or in new markets altogether — lasting 21st century growth is a more likely outcome.

And so I wonder are we being proactive enough to embrace the forces of change to best shape growth opportunities?

To help frame, we are all familiar with the dominant forces of change:
Economic => unlivable minimum wages, income inequality, corruption, commoditization, collaborative economy growth
Environmental => scarcity of resources, waste, climate change effects, rise of cradle to cradle & 3R practices
Social => changing wellbeing needs, rights acknowledgement & empowerment, rise of the involved global citizen
Tech => rapid innovation cycles, open marketplace growth, 3D printing agile distribution models, behavioral data usage
Political & legal => political distrust, sense of lack of leadership, growing nationalism, diverse data privacy controls.

With these forces in mind, how might we create incremental value, and innovate in a way which accelerates the positive and helps to solve for the negative?

Education, Food & Beverage, Healthcare and Financial categories, to me, are ripe for disruptive innovation. Some of my favorite examples of both incremental and disruptive innovation include:
Education — The Curious Learning System aims to “ensure every child has access to education — regardless of resources or location”. The platform is accessible by mobile tech, encourages community participation, from content development to deployment, and uses agile data loops to continuously enhance the learning experience. It embraces many of the forces at play, naturally grounded in empowering individual growth through learning.

Food & Beverage — The Food Business school is the first of its’ kind, that knits together culinary and business learning, which “enables and empowers entrepreneurial leaders to design, deliver and lead transformative innovations that address the world’s most pressing food challenges — and its greatest business opportunities”. They offer a dynamic approach to help build practical skills, knowledge and networks. With the “involved citizens” they are embracing change and solving for the challenges at the heart of our food system, re-imagining and creating anew.

Healthcare — “Play to Cure™: Genes in Space is the world’s first free mobile game that uses the collective force of players to analyze real genetic data and help beat cancer sooner.” Citizens are helping to substantially reduce Cancer research time (and enjoy game play), allowing the experts to focus their analysis where it matters, making better use of available resources. This gives us great insight into the possibilities of scaled participatory models.

Finance — “Indiegogo empowers people to activate the global community to make ideas happen. Then, we help you spread the word.” It is a good example of the open crowdfunding marketplace, crossing business, community and individual funding initiatives. Where their technology platform allows for a direct from of impact investing. Not dissimilar to the great Kickstarter, Kiva, and other micro financing platforms, where we can expect more positive change ahead.

There are natural patterns and principles of success which are shared amongst these leaders today — they are:
1) pioneers in their outlook, challenging the status quo, per the legendary Clayton Christensen
2) fulfilling human needs, closing human wellbeing gaps, in a tangible way
3) championed by an inspirational leader/ leadership team, a key opportunity area per Umair Haque
4) staying true to their core purpose which is embedded into their organizational DNA
5) strong collaborators within their wider ecosystem, see Rachel Botsman’s marketplace thinking.

If we can more readily overcome the fear and embrace the changes at play, we should better position ourselves for 21st century growth, personally, organizationally and for society.
“May the force(s) be with us.”

And stay tuned for more on the how coming soon…