Four dynamic ways to future-proof your business

In turbulent times we seek safety in stasis – but why? When change is constant, we need to learn how to build it in to our businesses in order to grow.
An aerial view of people mingling and gathering around displays, printers and tables which are arranged in lines at the top and bottom of the photograph, to allow people to walk between them.
Anthony White

Written by Anthony White

European Professional Print Marketing Strategy Lead

Dynamic. It’s a word that brings with it thoughts of youth, speed, energy. When an organisation is considered dynamic, it moves quickly, takes risks and is exciting, right? It is not, perhaps, a word we associate with safety, careful consideration, long-term planning. And this, under examination, is patently incorrect. You see, while the world view of the dynamic organisation might be one that appears to be leaping ahead, very little can happen successfully without an eye on the future.

You might imagine, however, that in more turbulent times everything slows down. It stands to reason, surely? We need to seek safety in stasis. Put the brakes on, perhaps? Wrong. At the very core of a dynamic company is the understanding that change is a constant, even when it’s at an imperceptible level. Not everything needs to have immediate impressive impact. The ability to bring plans into play, respond to economic shifts and put long-term goals in place are, in fact, the very essence of dynamism. At our recent Make It Future-Proof event in Poing, Germany, we discussed some of the more measured but equally dynamic and critically important fundamentals that will see our customers and partners in good stead for the future.

Acknowledge and anticipate 

Planning for change means first acknowledging it. The dynamic organisation does not set its future in stone and this in and of itself might take a fair amount of mindset change. Being certain in your uncertainty means that any plans you make are in a state of continual scrutiny, which is an excellent way to keep an organisation’s eye on the future. Listen carefully to the markets, analyse the competition frequently and have an ongoing dialogue with your customers that will give you important early insights into their pain points and subjects of interest.

Two stacks of brochures, side by side, photographed at a slight angle from above, so you can clearly see the stack and the cover. On the cover is a Japanese-style illustration of a fish, surrounded by flowers and leaves. It is printed against a patterned background of fans. The text beneath it, in capital letters, reads, ‘make it futureproof’. Beside this text if a red, yellow and orange origami-style shape and beneath it is the red Canon logo.

Innovation and improvement

Where are the opportunities? It’s incredibly easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day business of keeping all the plates spinning, but without actively seeking out opportunities, one smashed plate could spell disaster. Are there new products or services that your customers are crying out for? If so, how can you get these to them in the swiftest and most cost-effective way possible? Who can you partner with to serve their needs? Or perhaps it’s necessary to invest in new technology that will both reach them and serve other organisational improvement objectives at the same time.

Culture and continuity

Teamwork makes the dream work, so the saying goes. And while there’s no doubt that it’s an incredibly cheesy expression, there’s nothing about the sentiment that’s remotely stinky. When the people of an organisation understand and value the goals and purpose of a business, it can be galvanising. Investing in the long-term learning, development and mentoring of your teams is essential in bringing businesses (and the people within them!) closer to their goals. Not only does it keep everyone up to date on best practice and the latest technologies – knowledge that will give customers the continued level of service they expect – it also fosters an organisational culture with a natural growth mindset.

"If you future-proof something, you design it so that it will continue to be useful or successful in the future if the situation changes."

Productivity and performance

Are there aspects of your operations that seem overly laborious? Do your people find themselves frustrated that they spend too much time on administration and not enough time adding value to customers? How do you measure performance overall – both in terms of people and processes? In the spirit of dynamism, these too are aspects of a business that require ongoing attention. Like all organisations, our customers aspire to grow, and they tell us that investments in new technology improve the way they operate in several ways – by speeding up repetitive tasks, making others easier or removing the need for them altogether. While it might seem counterproductive to be investing in this way during uncertain economic times, ignoring the costs of low productivity and underperformance is also unwise.

As Jennifer Kolloczek, our Senior Director of Marketing & Innovation for Production Print says, “If you future-proof something, you design it so that it will continue to be useful or successful in the future if the situation changes.” Together, these four actions lay the foundations of what it means to be future-proof in a time when standing still is not an option. They exercise caution but champion growth. They identify the opportunities and meet them with an analytical eye. They acknowledge the need for change but approach it meaningfully. Isn’t this how it should always be?

The ’Make It Future-Proof’ event took place at our Customer Experience Centre in Poing, Germany where we shared new technologies and insights from industry leaders with 800 of our partners from around EMEA. See more at our Make It Hub.

Anthony White European Professional Print Marketing Strategy Lead

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