Is This The Greatest Opportunity of Our Lifetime?
Michael DeVenney
September 13, 2021

Don’t do it! Don’t look back!

Right now, at this time and place, is the greatest opportunity for innovation in our lifetime. Never have our minds been so open to what is possible. Only four months ago, things we thought were impossible we have made happen, and more. We are not trapped by the past. We can move forward to create things that are new and different with a meaningful impact, that matters to our companies, how we live and work, and how we interact as communities and societies.


We cannot think of going back to the way it was. We need to build on those feelings of ingenuity, urgency, and energy, and not lose our momentum.

The crisis of the pandemic has shown us how to be incredibly adaptive in reacting to the intense pressures to change brought on by the spread of the coronavirus and policies to protect us. People have moved mountains in a short period of time to be there for customers, and that is a wonderful thing. We have proven that we can do it, at speed and scale.

But I think that as we enter this next phase of the pandemic there are many that are almost breathing a sigh of relief, thinking we can go back to the way it was.

We cannot allow that to happen! Complacency keeps us from learning, growing, and, most critically, innovating. Let's not even think of slipping back.

The willingness and creativity are with us to be truly innovative, to bring new value to our world, to turn our business models upside down and break down barriers and take our place as forward-thinking businesses and leaders.

Somewhere, right now, three young people are dreaming up a new way to change their world, our world. They are not trapped by the “this is not the way it is done” thinking. They can envision ways to make things work better. We should not stop them - we should join them.

Innovation is about challenging the way things are done, asking what if. It is harnessing trends, looking beyond our space. And it is about turning constraints into possibilities and leveraging resources to do something bigger.

Yes, we need to protect and preserve, but we can also put down the balance sheet and let our curiosity run. Look up and see what the people in our company believe can change - and not just the usual suspects, listen to everyone. Look out and appreciate what is happening to our customers, what is in front of them and how can we help them to stay ahead. And look around at other industries and assess the trends. There are no lines and boundaries anymore, what is happening over there can happen here, so let’s surprise ourselves and think differently.

We can reimagine how we do our business, upending the way things have been done to capture new value for our customers and companies. Now is not the time to sit back and simply go back to what we did, we will miss out on too much.

We have adapted and next, we need to evolve and build a different future. Look at your business and learn from the past, assess the present, and identify the trends. Lay out how things are done from start to finish, and beyond, and toss your supply chain and value curve around to see if new opportunities exist. Go back to zero to envision how you could innovate what you do to go where your customer is heading and do something amazing. There are so many challenges to keep you grounded in the present but break out of that just a bit and see the potential of what could be done.

Now is the time to see the possibility. We can be responsible and bold at the same time. We need to be. In a time of tragedy, we may also find inspiration.

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