First-hand experience from Finger Food’s CEO, Ryan Peterson, may change the way companies view this challenge.
May 9, 2019
I’ve long believed that there is tight association between the experiences we have in our personal lives, what we learn from them, and how we apply this to our lives at work. I want to share an experience, where in a fleeting moment, everything could have changed for me.
I was lucky enough to be skiing with friends near Revelstoke, in BC, Canada. It was a good day, and the snow was epic. As we skied out of the trees into a large opening, I could feel something change and started to slow down to assess the situation and then Boom, it happened… I paused for a brief moment, sort of frozen in time, and next thing I know, I was riding an avalanche. I don’t think it could have killed me, and luckily, backpacks now come with air-bags to help you stay on top of slides.
After spending what felt like minutes assessing If I was ok, I reflected and realized how lucky I was to come out unscathed. It could have been so much worse… In hindsight, the most frustrating thing, something that I often think about now, is I could easily have avoided the whole situation, if I’d just kept moving and flying down the hill. I didn’t. And that’s why I ended up chest deep in snowy shi*
The Avalanche of Change
So what’s the business analogy we can draw from this? Well it’s simple. If businesses stand still and don’t adapt, move fast and adopt new technologies and ideas, they’ll get swept away, and buried, watching all those around them survive and thrive.
The parallels go much deeper. Avalanches have 5 different categories, according to the damage they can do.
- A Category 1 has the power to hurt a person. We can easily relate to this equating to how modern jobs are rapidly changing. The jobs of the future will be totally different.
- A Category 2 could easily bury a person, which we can equate to a job being eliminated in the workplace, which happens all the time as technology improves efficiency, and eliminates certain functions.
- A Category 3 avalanche is one with enough depth and force to bury a car. This can be compared to a company having to change dramatically due to market conditions and technology – think of Kodak or record labels.
- A Category 4 is one you never want to be a part of. There’s enough snow to bury a two storey house, the same as a company actually being eliminated from a business entirely. Blockbuster is a classic example of this.
- A Category 5 is complete carnage, where a whole town can be buried, the equivalent of a whole industry changing due to changing consumer demands and modern technology.. The newspaper industry might be the best example.
So, this is all very scary, but what are companies doing to move at the right speed to adapt and innovate, and when should they make this move to minimize the risks associated with of popping out of the trees?
The answer is of course, move NOW. Don’t wait. Companies need to consider how modern technology can increase their efficiency and impact profitability by investing in new tech.
Be Dynamic and Flexible
We speak about Cognitive Adaptability, a grandiose term, but one that embraces the situation. This defines the extent by which, smart businesses are able to be dynamic, flexible and self-regulating to adapt to changing environments.
Key technologies that companies need to be aware of, and investing in are:
- Machine Learning and AI
- Augmented and Virtual reality
- The Internet of Things
- Big Data
Each one can and will, impact business profoundly in the next 1-3 years, and beyond.
Specifically, companies at the tip of the spear, as it pertains to digital transformation, are already utilizing a range of technologies that focus on Machine Learning, Augmented and Virtual reality, Digital Twins, and even Blockchain and Robotics to improve the way they operate, train and relate to their customers.
These technologies are not fanciful ideas from a science fiction movie – they are here now, and a handful of companies are doing a superb job integrating these technologies into their operations:
- Deschutes Brewery built a digital twin with us to visualise a deep simulation of their brewery.
- Walmart now has 17,000 VR headsets it uses for training.
- PACCAR (premium truck designer and manufacturer) utilises AR to revolutionise its design process.
- Lowe’s (who just won an award for their use of technology) totally revamped its retail experience using a range of consumer and staff-focused applications.
No Time like the Present
These key technologies can solve a plethora of problems, but the time to start working with them is now, 2019, not later!
As companies dig deeper into the modern challenges they face they will start by looking at reducing costs and risks. But the real opportunity, shown in the solutions I detailed above, is to increase efficiency and profitability, and ultimately make more money!
When it comes to reducing risk, I again draw parallels with my time on the mountain. For years I’ve trained and simulated what I might do in an avalanche, so much so that I knew what to expect, I’d visualised it, and knew exactly what I should have done. I just should have acted quicker.
So, the good news is, you CAN survive an avalanche and you CAN drive the growth of your business by adopting the right technology and adapting to it, quickly.
When it comes to eliminating risk, imagine, if your company had the ability to run a full visual simulation, or Digital Twin, to run any combination of scenarios that relate to your business. You could physically watch the outcome unfold, and plan effectively to mitigate any threats to your real business.
Drop us a line, and we will help you make an effective transition to this new way of thinking.
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