Author: Martin Kelly, CEO INNOVO
It's Black Friday and business on planet earth has woken up to cataclysmic change with Brexit and the US election. Commercially, it's like the meteorite which finished the dinosaurs and left the way open for mankind. Business, like nature, will be brutally swift in selecting the fittest species. But what type of company is the future and what is a business dinosaur?
Who do you buy from when a trade war abruptly cuts off your global supply chain? How do you keep customers in markets which suddenly have punitive tariffs designed to keep you out?
You desperately scramble to adapt and survive. But adapt into what?
Business dinosaurs are as easy to spot as a T-Rex. Up until Brexit/US election, they roamed the earth freely in the quarterly pursuit of profit. They ate rivals to become bigger and bigger. But they die without global supply chains and free access to world markets. In the new world of punitive trade barriers, global spread leads to instant fragmentation and destruction. For them, today is Black Friday.
What about the future companies where this is the New Dawn? We know what future companies are like because they are already outsmarting dinosaurs in industry after industry at lightning speed: advertising to Google, phones to Apple, retail to Amazon, media to Facebook, hotels to Airbnb. Even the automotive industry is under attack by Google and Tesla. They use cloud based platforms to connect buyers and suppliers.
There are still thousands of dinosaur industries who depend on global supply chains and free access to world markets. Each industry has its own T-Rex global market leaders. It is now so easy for a smart company with its cloud platform to snap up their industry. Their platforms automatically deliver agile and alternative supply chains and extraordinarily fast new customer acquisition.
As the incredibly successful CEO of a T-Rex, you suddenly realise that it’s not just your company, or even your industry but your whole way of doing business that is about to die. It’s going the way of the mobile phone dinosaurs only infinitely faster because at least they had global supply chains and free trade to prolong their death.
I’m not a 20 year old founder of a platform business who has known nothing else since leaving his garage. I’m now 61. As the former CEO of traditional businesses, it took me years to unlearn ‘dinosaur think’ and then 6 years to build an open platform that ‘dinosaur’ industries could use themselves.
The reason that new smart companies are seizing industry after industry from dinosaurs is not just about their platforms. It’s about how they work and why they work and it runs completely against every dinosaur instinct. They adore and reward repeated innovative experimentation. Dinosaurs call this repeated failure and they barely reward successful innovative employees.
Above all, individuals at smart companies are motivated by a deep desire to make a difference. Levels of philanthropy at smart companies are badges of honour. Dinosaurs think that employees are motivated by losing their job if the company fails to make a profit. Yet the stock market knows that smart companies are worth much more than dinosaurs. The imminent extinction of dinosaurs marks a new dawn of philanthropy. It’s why we developed a new financial instrument, the INNOVO IGP, which helps dinosaurs to make a return from new supply chains and new markets at the same time as generating money for Good Causes.
I’m proof that a dinosaur can get smart so this need not be Black Friday for every dinosaur.