Summer is usually a quiet period for news. This year is different. Each day we see continued stories about economic turbulence, natural disasters, global conflicts, and ongoing health crises around the world. Business leaders have replaced cautious optimism with a more conservative view of what’s ahead. It’s hard to make sense of the world we live in today. Uncertainty reigns and big challenges are looming.
But uncertainty also creates opportunities. This is especially true when businesses need new solutions that go beyond small fixes. Take for example the ongoing supply chain challenges. We don’t hear much about shipping traffic jams at ports today. But a wave of empty containers take up so much valuable space at storage space that it throws the whole supply chain out of balance. While this seems a relatively small problem it is a symptom of continued systemic supply chain issues. Companies are re-designing their full supply chain network for resilience, with some moving production facilities closer to their customers and others building their own transportation fleet. Big challenges require bold solutions.
To create breakthrough solutions requires constant awareness and learning. The recent Signal event showcased many inspiring experts who educated us on how the world of business is evolving so we can find the opportunities. One example is Sucharita Kodali, a Forrester analyst, who returned to the Signal stage after ten years with a provocative perspective on what is shaping retail today and in the future. We created a compilation of her two presentations.
Signal 2022 also showed that big challenges require leadership to step up and build solutions to solve hard problems. Richelieu Dennis and Bonin Bough did more than point out that Black-owned media in the U.S. is not getting its fair share of advertising spending, mostly because the media companies are too small. They built Group Black to create the scale needed for companies like P&G to make investments in Black-owned media worthwhile. Another example is Daniela Rios, a P&G Trailblazer who used her passion to change legislation in Brazil to provide girls free feminine care products so that they don’t have to skip classes when they have their periods. Leaders are people who make an impact. They take initiative to bring people together to solve tough problems.
Making an impact is also linked to job satisfaction. People want to do work that is meaningful and valued. Hiring and retaining skilled people is not just a matter of how much they get paid. Giving them an opportunity to learn and grow is just as important. Many companies are increasing efforts to create new training opportunities for their employees, not only for their current jobs but also to help them achieve or even expand their career goals. Helping people develop their skills is a great investment for seizing innovation opportunities up ahead.
Uncertainty often lures us to stay put and wait out the storm. Enthusiasm for finding new solutions to strategic business challenges makes peace with doubling down on what used to work. Instead, learning to navigate new routes will ultimately lead to continued growth once we reach quieter waters. We hope this issue provides you direction for your innovation journey ahead. Until next month.
Stan Joosten & John Battelle,
Editors-In-Chief, Signal360 / Co-founders, Signal P&G