Monday, July 20, 2015

Live from OmniShopper 2015: “Maximizing Retail Opportunities in a Digitally-Enhanced Future Landscape”

Jonathan MacDonald delivered a captivating opening keynote wherein he opened our eyes to the world we live in today. Combined with real robots who think and feel human and explaining the process of the chaos that led to innovative businesses such as Airbnb and Zipcar, he informed us on the importance of recognizing change and leveraging our response to find true success.

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windows.”
-Chinese proverb

With these constant changes lie opportunities for companies to win or lose- how exactly does this happen? Jonathan offered 3 pieces of information that will dictate our success in this whirlwind of change. 
1.       Understanding modern contexts we’re in
It’s all too easy to for us to run in autopilot each and every day- wake up, shower, coffee, head to work. Our work responsibilities and days are so overwhelming we get as much as possible done in as little time and try to get out of the office with some minimal amount of energy left to go home and actually live our lives.

We don’t have time or energy to think of things other than what we are already responsible for at work and family related. The problem is- it’s those advancements, those changes that are occurring outside of our auto-piloted lives that are detrimental to our future success.

It may be half that we don’t have time or notice these changes, but it also may be half the fact that we really are unwilling to accept these changes. “Change is enemy to the competent,” Jonathan explained. We don’t like it- it causes us to leave our routine and actually have to think.

What are some of these changes occurring right before our eyes? Think Smart Medicine that allows us to swallow a pill and learn what our bodies need. We are able to bypass doctors and instead learn about our bodies in real time. Or Airbnb- where we now stay in strangers houses as if they were hotels. Or the importance of opinions- Urban Outfitters releases a controversial “Kent State” sweater that causes and uproar from consumers, consequently resulting in a major negative impact on stocks. Or hotels in Japan run completely by robots. Or wearable contacts that allow you to envision you’re in a different place.

Change surrounds us and it is necessary to acknowledge this in order to thrive in the future.

2.       Leveraging opportunities in disintermediation
Instead of fighting this change we need to let it happen and ensure we leverage it. The aforementioned trends are only a small piece of the entire pie Jonathan mentioned. We are surrounded by change and must understand how this can impact us. He ensured us that refusing to accept these challenges or thinking we can handle these trends are actually poisons to us. We must use this change- we must embrace it and learn to incorporate this into our thinking- to evolve what we are doing and build upon what lies before us.


3.       Managing perpetual change

Many things are changing at once and we never really know where we are in this ongoing phase. Jonathan presented this change in a graph where we Plan on the linear white line, Recognize Change on the yellow, exponential line, and experience Disruption on the delta of these lines. This is the area of chaos wherein opportunity and success lie. 


He went into further detail of the Change line- where it first begins we experience fundamental change- change that many are unwilling to believe and usually over look. Next, were see change meet the Plan (linear line) and we finally accept the change yet perceive it as a low threat. And lastly we see the inflection point- at this point it’s too late. Change has come, advancements have improved this even more and now we have no choice but to adjust and accept this change.

Surround yourself with those who build windows and optimistically accept and build with change.


Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at j.parker@skimgroup.com.





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