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Change, Opportunity, and Innovation

Updated: May 17, 2021

by Ulises Pabon

COVID has had a devastating impact on human life and has made a significant dent in many businesses. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, while some businesses are racing full steam ahead, others continue to struggle.

To a large degree, the variability in business outcomes is driven by differences from one business sector to another. In a social-distance economy, activities that require social proximity (and the businesses that ride upon them) will be squelched. In addition, since post-COVID repercussions vary sector to sector, for businesses economically scarred by COVID and its repercussions, recovery has been a struggle.

However, amidst this mixed bag of circumstances, we truly need to escape COVID-19’s gravity field. As 2021 unfolds, there is a plethora of change happening. Consumer behavior is changing, digital adoption has taken a quantum leap, the workplace is being reinvented, supply chains are shifting, and automation solutions are emerging. Our basic needs have not changed; how we meet them has.

Change begets opportunity. Combine opportunity with creativity and actionable knowledge and you get innovation. And innovation creates value.

Escaping the gravity field of the COVID black hole is difficult. For businesses in critical condition, the implications of a second surge in cases, a return to increased lockdown measures, and the struggle to stay in business may be too much.

Equally vulnerable, though, are businesses that are riding a COVID-induced growth wave. With increased activity and revenue, many are so busy milking the present that they have forgotten about the future.

If your business is riding a COVID-induced wave, get ready for the hangover; it’s coming. Especially if the COVID-cash intoxication has induces you to disregard the future and focus all your energy on the present.

As Yogi Berra would say: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Tomorrow is not going to look like today. Call it the new normal, the next normal, or simply, the future. The fundamental question about the future is this: will you be a victim, a spectator, or a shaper?

In astronomy, a black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing – no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light – can escape from it. The boundary around a black hole beyond which nothing can escape is known as the event horizon.

COVID’s gravity field is strong. Heck, I’m writing about the future and, so far, I’ve used the word COVID ten times!

How can we, then, escape COVID's event horizon?

Here’s an idea: If you want to be part of the future, spend your time there.

Read about the future – about trends, developments, innovations. Shift your conversation towards the future, whether you are talking with customers, suppliers, employees, or business colleagues. Make it a point to think about the future. Schedule time for strategic dialogue. If the ambiguity and uncertainty of the future paralyze you, embrace scenario planning. Hold that strategic visioning and planning event you’ve been postponing.

Here’s another idea: Make 2021 your pivotal year. Don’t wait for 2022; you’re going to be late. Transformations take time to unfold. Capabilities take time to develop. Road testing products and services take time. If you insist on spending your time in the present, use it to create the future.

Almost half of 2021 has gone by. If you haven’t already, you must escape the coronavirus gravity field. Your business's future depends on it.

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