A Saturday night pop-up shop or weekend restaurant is very much the same as 30 years ago when a local farmer was getting his urban food stall mounted on the market. It was a temporary event and the purpose was to sell as much as possible. And what about social media and Facebook’s Like. Previously we went to the pub, had a few good chats –and drinks- and laughed or authentically smiled when we liked something. What’s the difference? Where today the Transformation Manager drafts us a change development plan and organises meetings to get our buy-in; in the past it was: ‘the boss wants it differently’. Full stop; and back to work now. Luckily there is these days more employee involvement with for instance the HR Manager launching this years’ Employee Engagement Survey. In the past, we only had the factory boss saying ‘Goodmorning. How are you?” That was too simplistic, too straightforward. Too basic; isn’t it?
So we got in business life all kinds of new stuff; SAP, GMP, Prince2, SixSigma and so on. Last year, I visited a 3-day Competitive Pricing Strategy workshop. At school I learned in 1 hour that if demand is low, prices have to lower. And now I also learned about Consumer Centricity. In the late 19th Century, Marshall Field lead his successful department stores through the motto ‘Give the Lady what she wants’. What’s the difference?
A lot of what we call ‘innovation’ or ‘new’ or ‘change’ isn’t really that new. Old wine in buzzy bottles. But just the mere fact that we call it ‘change’ generates with many people a feeling of imposed –and thus unwelcomed- transformation; even if it’s not such a big thing at all. However, it generates anxiety, demotivation and burn-out. Because with that pace of change –we think-, we believe that we won’t be able to cope. It’s massive these days; everything changes. Everything and every-day. For us employees, customers, citizens,… it’s always change. The world has never seen such a pace of change. Is it?
A few years ago, Forbes published a list of the top30 biggest and life-changing innovations over the last 30 years. Heading that list is: 1 Internet, 2 PC/laptop, 3 Mobile phones, 4 Email and 5 DNA testing. Gosh, that’s impressive. Compare that to the list of innovations and changes in the late 19th Century: Telephone, Radio, X-rays, Light bulb, Pasteurization, Vacuum cleaner, Dynamite. And also: Fountain pen, Zipper, Hot dogs, Blue jeans, Kindergarten. And Toiler paper. And soon after -in 1903- came the first ‘flying machine’!
While going through this list, you may wonder who is/was faced with the most change ever. Us or our great-grandparents? So let’s not exaggerate. The basics are still the same. Not everything is really change. And rest assured, we’ll all survive it. As our great-grandparents did. And as our kids will do.