Change and Creativity. Part 1

Posted by on October 13, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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I’m currently wrapping up a 7 week contract with a client in Kenya. Yes, I’ve lived here for almost 7 weeks on a Culture Development “roll-out”. Obviously CHANGE has been front of mind – not only because of the nature of the project, but because I’ve had to immerse myself in the Kenyan Way. So, if it is relatively easy to adapt to new surroundings, why do companies struggle so much with change? In the next few posts I’ll have a look at change and how we can creatively deal with it.

What has changed in the world recently and how can we expect the world to change in the next couple of years? (I’m not even going to consider changes in communication and Internet!!)

And what are the implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry in particular?

2005 The active contact lens, linked to the Internet, allows the wearer to read E-Mail and surf the World Wide Web without even opening his/her eyes.
2007 New cars are equipped with anti-collision radar, thermal imaging systems to improve visibility,and satellite based automatic global positioning systems.
2008: Mobile communications will allow us to manage and automate our entire lives simply by moving from one place to another.
2020 Flying wing aircraft are able to carry 1000 passengers up to a distance of 9000kms at average speeds of 900km/h.
2030 Following on the development of artificial lungs, kidneys and livers, doctors can now create artificial eyes.
2500 From an average of 78 years, human life-spans are extended to 140 years.

More specifically, how can we expect the pharmaceutical industry to change?

Over and above legislative changes, we need to understand that technology will have a profound effect on our industry and particularly the role of medical and healthcare practitioners. The best way to describe this is to look at the average patients’ consultation with their GP. You’ll remember that I highlighted the extended role technology can play in the job functions of GP’s – making them all but obsolete. Patients visit their doctors not merely for diagnosis and prescription of medication. They visit their GP’s because of the acknowledgement, assurance and personal contact humans crave.

There are three cornerstones in dealing with change:
• Expect it
• Accept it
• Create your own change.

Change highlights why do we need to be creative?
In one word – CHANGE. Whether we like it or not, things change around us all the time. Whatever we did to be successful last year, the year before or even last month, may not work anymore.

In the 2001 Tour de France, defending champion Lance Armstrong faked poor form on the first mountainous stage, leading his main rival Jan Ulrich to work hard on the first three climbs of the day. On the last climb to l’Alpe d’Huez, Armstrong attacked, beating Ulrich by over a minute. By being creative in his approach, Armstrong laid the foundation for a Tour de France victory. His bluff was a spectacular success, but he could never use this tactic again.

Global changes have affected every industry during the last few years. Think of South African advertising. Not too long ago every daily newspaper had a cigarette advert on the front page in the bottom right-hand corner. Today that would be illegal. Let’s look at some other significant changes in the global business landscape:
• Terrorism has become and everyday activity
• DVD’s and CD-Rom’s
• Human Rights
• The emergence of information as a key resource
• Cohabitation as an acceptable substitute for marriage
• Single-sex relationships
• Fiber optics
• Satellite communication
• The internet and e-mail
• The increased role of women in business and politics
• Cellphones – and the commercial power of cellular companies
• Rap music
• Biotechnology
• Etc.

No matter who you are, or what you do, these changes (and these are only a very small number of them) would have severely impacted on the way you live, work and conduct business. These changes affect the “rules” we live and work by. Things that we didn’t even consider 10 years ago are major driving forces today. Not even expert futurists could predict some of these changes and those who did have made millions, if not billions of dollars. These changes are useful in the sense that they create what Joel Arthur Barker (author of “Paradigms”) calls cascades of innovation.

Because we can’t always anticipate these changes, we need to learn to be creative in our reactions to these changes. There are three ways to deal with change.
• Expect it. Things will change!
• Accept it. When things change (like the petrol price) we need to accept and move on.
• Create your own. This is the best way to deal with change. When you create your own, you not only develop a mindset that is used to change, but you also become “trained” in looking for opportunities and change comes as less of a shock to you.

Creating your own change relies on creativity. This skill, like any other skill, can be learnt.

“Change is not a choice – it happens irrespective of us”

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