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Courage, comrades: How to revolutionise your business

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How much are we are going to have to innovate (very trendy word right now) in the future in order to survive?

In the past, innovation meant new products and the odd new method. In the future, it is going to be about surviving in a whole new world brought on by the combined forces of the energy and eco crisis, plus the sheer rate of technological change. 

Living near Cambridge, considered by many as the Silicon Valley of Britain, I am privileged to meet some very inventive and innovative people. However, the average East Anglian would probably agree that adapting to change does not rank highly in either their skills – nor in their desires. 

They are very happy with the status quo, see little reason to change it and would prefer not to look at a whole lot of extra work that they do not particularly perceive as necessary. 

To move our businesses forward, we are faced with two challenges: the first being to make ourselves and our managers inventive and innovative; and the second to help our workforce not just cope with change but ideally to welcome it. 

Innovation and creativity are about experimenting, inventing and having fun. They are about breaking rules (and making sure your managers feel secure enough to do that). 

We have got to be courageous; to chuck the expected out the window and think of different angles – to think of solutions before the problems even happen. As Mr Gates said, if we don’t, someone else will. 

I’ve made a vow that me and my managers are going to go to more events like the fabulous Entrepreneurs’ Summit. We all need mental breaks and complete changes of scene, to look at what other people are doing, to find out more about the myriad subjects we know little about, and even just to sit in the summer sunshine and swap ideas. That way, we can all go back refreshed, regenerated and revolutionise the company.

If we take time out, we will be better able to lead.

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