When industries are in crisis, more businesses start taking a lot more notice of their industry structures and the performance of industry services. And in some cases, it doesn’t take much analysis to see that old arrangements are in urgent need of an overhaul. It begs the question as to why it takes a crisis to have innovation by industry service organisations.
Part of the answer is that it’s hard to change industry institutions. It requires achieving a change in mindset by many people.
There is a predictable pattern in good times. Firstly, people are inclined to dismiss and deny there is a problem, then as the evidence mounts, they rationalise that no change or incremental improvement is required. For example, I’ve heard people say that industry organisational arrangements are not the problem and that the real imperative is to have the right people. The argument goes that if we have the right people, then the structure is not important.
The reality, of course, is that innovating to provide a modern, streamlined structure enables the best and brightest people to shine. Not innovating has the reverse effect, leaving industry businesses to wonder why the most talented people have gone elsewhere.
A crisis can be an opportunity to compress the innovation process into a short timeframe. Still, it requires leadership and courage, combined with a strong process to succeed.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with 130 business leaders from the Australian dairy industry and witness innovation in action. The dairy industry is weathering a tough period and responded by directly engaging over 1200 people in a few months to build momentum and support for transformative restructuring and a new plan.
There are limited options to manage some factors (like drought), but dairy businesses are mobilised to find solutions and influence the trajectory of their industry. Watch that space!