1) Make your vision and purpose true strategic assets.
The most adaptive (and successful) companies have the clearest purpose and vision. Being led by a clear purpose means you can make better, faster and more confident decisions about your future, while keeping teams motivated towards a common goal that means more than targets ever can.
2) Distil your capabilities, diversify your teams.
The next successful digital-age businesses will be comprised of multidisciplinary teams working on focused services. Banks will go back to being banks, not coffee shops. Diverse teams bring judgement, perspective and joined-up thinking to established audiences and well-defined challenges.
3) Be brave enough to uncover what you don’t know.
Trends in data and averaged statistics are vital for monitoring performance, but they could be masking a wealth of potentially impactful insights. A single insight or anecdote could say more than years of data. But you have to take the plunge and ask the right questions if you want to uncover that business-changing insight. It won’t just fall in your lap.
4) Never set broadly accepted standards as targets.
There’s no such thing as ‘best practice’. There are a selection of approaches and patterns that have been successful in certain circumstances, but a universally accepted standard of excellence simply doesn’t exist. Our jobs would be much simpler if they did, but much less rewarding. Every context, purpose and audience demands a bespoke set of standards.
5) Be informed of trends, but not informed by them.
Real innovators interpret trends, they don’t follow them. Don’t just copy something because it’s good. Trends can provide valuable input for consideration when designing new customer experiences, but your rationale must be stronger than ‘X is doing it and people like it’. Your customers will see through that.
6) Focus on intellectual assets, not technological assets. Technology can be copied but people can’t.
Technology can be copied but people can’t. Invest in expertise and talent rather than tech. As we shift from software to service, underlying technologies will become progressively less important to customers than the service experience that people – your people – build on top of them. The better your team, the better your chance of being truly differentiated. You can’t rely on technology to make you stand out.
7) Get inventive with new technology.
Machine intelligence is happening, whether you like it or not. Rather than delaying or denying the impact it will have on your business, be imaginative with the opportunities machine intelligence could present to your services. Don’t just scratch your chin about what it could mean theoretically, or how it might threaten what you do already. Get your hands on new technology and go play: you need to learn as fast as the machines.