Close Search
Opinion  |  InnovationSocial innovation

Retooling to win in the next decade

20 August 2019 at 8:00 am
Janet Sernack
Organisations will need to continue evolving and embracing new technologies to stay ahead, write Janet Sernack and Gabrielle Martinovich from ImagineNation, in the final part of their series about rejuvenating to survive and thrive for social benefit.

Retooling to win in the next decade
20 August 2019 at 8:00 am

Organisations will need to continue evolving and embracing new technologies to stay ahead, write Janet Sernack and Gabrielle Martinovich from ImagineNation, in the final part of their series about rejuvenating to survive and thrive for social benefit.

In our previous article we discussed how to overcome innovation aspirations. In this article, we look at the risks of no innovation.

After the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos drew to a close, Martin Reeves, senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, shared his reflections of the event. 

Risks were top of mind – technological, economic, societal and planet. He said whilst most of these risks are not new, “most of them require collaboration and collective action”. 

“While we might once have depended on governments for this, business now needs to be part of the solution, given fractious politics and social division,” Reeves said.

So, what does this mean for your organisation?

Here is a summary of the six imperatives that business leaders need to focus on:

  1. Resilience to cope (adapt and grow) within a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous global economy.
  2. Innovation and vitality (agility) to create differential growth against a backdrop of declining aggregate growth.
  3. Being trustworthy, by self-regulating and/or embracing government regulation, and by adopting good practices for data governance.
  4. Being purpose-driven and inclusive through clearly articulating the social value of their business and addressing increasing social division in many countries.
  5. Adopting sustainable business models (people, profit and planet).
  6. Being proactive and collaborative in creating and contributing to collective solutions to these challenges.

A new agenda for the next decade

Organisations will need to continue evolving and embracing new technologies, and reshaping their external relationships and approaches. 

To stay ahead of the key trends, leaders need to continually question their current assumptions and retool their companies for the coming decade.

Rob Nail from Singularity University says: “The accelerating pace of change is unfamiliar and unprecedented. To some, this change is a threat; to others, it’s an opportunity; for most, it’s both… and we’re all struggling to adjust to this new state of dynamic equilibrium.”

Change begins with our mindsets, particularly with those who see growth and opportunity. For others threatened by change, it will be determined by complacency, panic, fear and feeling continually challenged. 

So, how can we get people to choose a future of opportunities rather than threats in an uncertain world? By reinventing and realigning ourselves, our teams and our business to remain relevant, valuable and resourceful for our clients. 

“The ultimate outcome will be determined not by the technology itself, but by human ingenuity, collaboration, and an explicit intention to try to make the world a better place,” Nail says. 

Staying ahead of the game

You can wait for the pain to happen or you can choose to take advantage of the possibilities and opportunities already available.

  1. Confront the brutal facts of “what is” happening and explore how it will impact:
  • digitisation
  • the internet of things
  • global demographic, political and sociological shifts 
  • lack of political leadership.

We may not be certain or know the right answers, however, we can be curious and explore “what could be” possible for our organisation.

  1. Be fierce and have provocative conversations. 

Don’t shy away from disagreement, dissonance and debate. Creative tension effects positive change and enables us to generate ideas and innovative solutions to our complex problems. 

  1. Be willing to shift from discomfort to success.
  • Begin with why: Initiate change by identifying a clear and implicit reason why the change is important to your organisation. Having a clear purpose fuels your intrinsic motivation and engages people’s hearts and minds towards fulfilling their values and meeting the mission. 
  • Outline how: Support your purpose through a clearly defined strategy as to how the changes will be executed and delivered through the desired cultural, systemic, technological and business model changes, providing your foundation for success.  
  • Clarify the what: Develop the permission and willingness for your people to let go of old prescribed notions about what will work and what won’t, and enable them to think and do things differently. Engage and mobilise your people through bespoke blended learning solutions to develop their change readiness.
  • Focus on outcomes: When we measure outcomes rather than outputs, we are able to see the real and tangible difference that we are making to people’s lives because of an activity or action. 
  1. Connect and collaborate with your people to explore, experiment and discover new approaches that will:
  • re-engage staff and attract new generations of volunteers
  • improve organisational effectiveness and productivity
  • improve speed to market and responsiveness to clients changing perceptions 
  • increase your return on investment to funders and generate new funding opportunities
  • develop new business models for organisational growth 
  • lower costs and improve bottom line results.

It’s only through collaboration and experimentation that we reduce the risks, activate the change and add value to our clients.

About the authors: Janet Sernack is the founder and CEO of ImagineNation, a global network of future thinking innovation leaders in innovation consulting, culture, leadership and team development, and coaching for individuals, teams and organisations. As a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and as an ICF PCC executive coach, she is acknowledged as a global thought leader on the people side of innovation. She presents free monthly webinars, blogs regularly, and presents an online ICF CCE Coach for Innovators Certified Program. 

Gabrielle Martinovich works with businesses experiencing significant growth, change and complexity to define their strategy and connect with their people, partners and customers to deliver authentic dialogue and strong partnerships. She is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and board chair of the Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre. 

See also:

Creating positive and valuable change through innovation

Why innovation is important to social enterprises 

Exploring the edges of possibility

Janet Sernack  |  @ProBonoNews

Janet Sernack is the founder and CEO of ImagineNation.

Gabrielle Martinovich  |  @ProBonoNews

Gabrielle Martinovich is an innovation strategist and facilitator at ImagineNation.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at or download our contributor guidelines.
Most Viewed


Webinar Value Packs

Get more stories like this


Your email address will not be published.


The Indigenous-led program rethinking education

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 30th March 2022 at 4:24 pm

Getting new ideas up – The three pillars

Mike Davis

Tuesday, 14th December 2021 at 8:15 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook