For a decade, business development strategy seemed to follow a line with few detours other than innovations that derail innovation and can undermine a company’s business model. However, today, nothing is analyzed like last year. If we sometimes think that anticipation and adaptation are opposite concepts, it is not necessarily so. The coronavirus episode only proves this for us and shows the difficulty for leaders to mediate between these two perceptions. Zoom in on the implications of the two approaches and why both may be useful and will appeal to your feedback from the field and your intuition.
prime example: masks
The onset of the health crisis sparked a lively controversy over the availability of masks. This was even more surprising because the strategic reserves were formed a few years ago and melted like ice. If, after all, the decisions were taken years ago, gradually leading to the disappearance of the stock, the French today still wonder why they disappeared and were not renewed. The reason seems very simple, however, the state costs money to renovate and the latter did not anticipate the arrival of the coronavirus (while we had already experienced an AIDS-like pandemic that could challenge them). One risk necessitated the availability of hundreds of millions or even billions of masks in stock. These could have ended before the pandemic struck, but they should have been systematically replaced. The goal here remains to understand that a lack of anticipation can have quick consequences, especially when there is no ability to adapt. In this case, it is therefore a question of a failed anticipation where all the masks were sold, thinking that the virus was in China and therefore in a distant country and that this attitude resulted in an impossibility to adequately provide or respond to them. For the absence when we needed it.
Anticipation in contrast with optimization?
First, expectancy may appear contradictory with the notion of adaptation because it has consequences on the stabilization of resources. Most of the time, anticipation generates costs that can be, at least temporarily, in human, material, storage or, more generally, in the stabilization of resources. We can imagine that anticipating the pandemic would generate costs to buy masks that have not expired and that are stored. In this sense, it contradicts the principle of adaptation (which is often thought of as the possibility of responding to a situation as quickly as possible and bringing it in line with expectations).
In addition, most new business models are based on the ability to adapt to new practices or expectations much faster than can be expected from future market changes. In terms of business, we can thus resist the way Steve Jobs acted, who anticipated the evolution of our telephones towards touchscreens, as with most of the major websites today, which are friendly to customer feedback. So anticipation and adaptation may at first appear in contradiction because they are two opposite phenomena.
In fact, the two notions are not so opposed. If you can adapt your product or service to customer feedback, then nothing stops you from making assumptions about the changes. It is also one of the major difficulties for managers, who often have to make decisions to protect the future while ensuring maximum accountability in the face of changes in consumer preferences or changes in technologies.
Anticipation is often complemented by the ability to adapt which product will develop according to the return, sales, success or otherwise anticipated. Thus, if you launch a product or service, you can be sure that it will work without knowing the details that you will have to customize to satisfy the customer. Note that some investments will be worthless and will be lost while others will bear fruit. It is a game of anticipation. Silicon Valley is no exception and many French start-ups advocate the right to fail because you have to take risks to be able to achieve things.
In this case, not renewing masks to save money appears to be a risk that was certainly poorly rated and therefore had a poor anticipation. Ultimately, it basically involves anticipating the occurrence of a risk, the viability of a product/service, or even the market’s reaction to the release of a new product or service. Facebook’s famous “fail hard” therefore reminds us that anticipation is essential.
how does she protest
It is actually quite simple and can be summarized as follows: The stronger and closer the urgency of a company, the more anticipation becomes waste and a source of cost. undesirable. In the case of a health crisis, if the ability to obtain masks were immediate, then having masks in stock (perhaps except for reasons of group purchase cost and price reduction) rather than production/ordering in real time cannot be justified.
There is, therefore, a link between anticipation and adaptation, but it is also what connects them. The two are often considered together in order to know whether it is better to estimate or to be able to optimize. You can often face difficult arbitrations with your company in many areas such as cash and its fixed assets.