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How to empower your business to become ‘future fit’ 
Evolution is a natural part of living and it should be a natural part of any business. Those organisations who refuse to grow and evolve risk becoming irrelevant or even worse, nonexistent.
In a recent Chasm Digital webinar, Get future-fit: Leverage the power of digital to transform your business, or re-invent all together, business leaders from various sectors discussed how organisations can leverage the power of digital to transform and reinvent their businesses.

The panellists included:

  • Libby Roberts, Founder, LeapForward
  • Robert Kinkade, Co-Founder, CEO, Chasm Digital
  • Paul Smitton, Director, Customer Lifestyle, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Vijay Solanki, Co-Founder and CEO, ParentalEQ

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Being ready and able to evolve
For Vijay Solanki, Co-Founder and CEO, ParentalEQ, being future fit is the ability to learn and unlearn at an individual level. This allows you to identify things that no longer serves your purpose, and learn something new to help you evolve.

"The principle of unlearn and relearn, particularly for leaders in large corporations, is that it's easy to hire a Head of Digital. However, it's a lot harder to try and learn it yourself. You don't need to be an expert, but you need to be good enough. So you can ask the right questions," Vijay says.

Vijay has worked for several innovative companies, and he says it is about "spotting waves" of digital trends. At ParentalEQ he has seen that parents don't understand mental health in children and it isn't a priority for them.

"Over the last 12 months of digging into this issue, we have built up our startup. We predict that this 'mental health wave' is a direct result of the lockdown. Parenting and working under the same roof has meant that parents and kids are seeing aspects of each other that they've never seen before.

"If you can map all of these external influences, which change rapidly, and organise yourself to be responsive to tomorrow and what you think the day after is going to be, then for me that is future fit," Vijay says.

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Adaptation to change
Robert Kinkade, Co-Founder, CEO, Chasm Digital, says being future fit is about adapting and recognising that the pace of change is increasing.

"It is about being comfortable with change and understanding that you're not going to have all the answers. Having a comfort level of being uncomfortable, is the key," Robert says.

As we are currently in the digital age, however many businesses are still working with industrial age tools and processes. Robert says employees need to spot these old processes in their business and begin to leverage digital.

"Using digital to be more adaptive, and more responsive to the changing market conditions is important. Not trying to do it all at once, but picking a couple of areas where you can get some wins will help get that momentum moving," Robert adds.

In this fast-paced digital age, don't be afraid to break a few eggs to make the omelette, Robert notes.

"It's important to get that balance right between envisioning a future looking at the opportunities, and imagining what the initiatives could look like such as new digital products, new services and new experiences. It's about getting enough to then get going, avoid analysis paralysis and get some runs on the boards," Robert says.

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Be future fit now
Paul Smitton, Director, Customer Lifestyle, Cathay Pacific Airways says businesses are struggling to catch up to consumer demand, so future fit isn't so much a few years away but happening right now.

This is especially considering how the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation and brought digitisation forward at least 10 years. While this is good news for consumers, it has put a demand on businesses like ecommerce and their supply chains.

"We have to change the way we work, whether it is within the business using digital tools with the workforce, to help those working from home or in the office. How do we make sure that we have fully productive teams?" Paul says.

After a significant downturn due to the pandemic, the airline industry is preparing for customers as international borders re-open. For Cathay Pacific, being prepared means fixing up the little cracks that were previously visible.

In a business meeting, Paul explains that one of the directors used an analogy to explain being prepared. He said there was a small crack in the marble in the first-class lounge bar last time he flew. When he flies again, he does not want to see that crack.

"He was using it as a metaphor for wider transformation. How do we make sure we look at the customer experience? How do we look at everything that we do so that when people come back, they recognise our efforts of improvement?" Paul says.

It is important to think long term, Paul explains,  "If you keep thinking in quarterly, annual, or even five-year cycles, sometimes you can miss the longer-term megatrends as well. For our industry, we've got a target to get to net-zero by 2050 from a carbon perspective.

"This means we need to prepare now for the future. We've been introducing sustainable aviation fuel by 2030, and other initiatives like that. We're bringing a lot of these things forward, and getting focused on them now," Paul says.

Paul suggests organisations need to bring forward the megatrends and the long-term goals.

"Make sure everything you're doing is being thought about from a digital point-of-view, and concentrate on removing friction within the business so that you can drive improved customer outcomes," he concludes.

Watch Chasm Digital’s webinar, Get future-fit: Leverage the power of digital to transform your business, or re-invent all together free and on demand here.

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