24 Oct Heart of Harts – Oct 2016
As I pen this piece, I’m sitting at my kitchen bench overlooking the mighty Burleigh Beach and Headlands with the 2016 Conference just concluded and whales breaching from the northern headland to the point. I kid you not but the “Humpback Highway” is starting to become quite heavily congested – not like the congestion levels clogging our Nation’s freeways but at a volume that only a few years ago would have seemed imaginable. You may not realise but in 1963, the year after whaling was banned, the East Coast population was thought to be as little as 100 and today it has grown to over 10,000. With each raised fluke and breach, whatever is being worked on gets replaced by raised binoculars and raised inner spirits. It is interesting to think how such an ‘event’ could be better used to raise tourist numbers and indeed Asian awareness of their importance to us. Things that come to mind: floating hotels, floating stadiums, dedicated whale cams whose streamed footage could include advertising of local events, businesses, produce etc.
Edward de Bono would consider such thinking as the ‘Power of Po’ or some such. Not to be confused with Pi, Po, or provocative thinking invites taking existing thinking on something and applying fanciful thought to it to come up with a new and better solution to it. An example often cited is ‘what would happen if cars had square wheels?’ Firstly the ride would be bumpy due to the up and down reciprocating motion caused by the transitioning of the tyres from the flat surfaces to the points and then back to flats. The energy required to move the tyres would be greater than round tyres, grip would be lesser and so on… But what could be done to overcome such hurdles? Well, up and down motion could be curtailed by use of sensors that could look forward and regulate independent suspension on each tyre, grip could be overcome by dynamic friction pads and so on … How can be Po be used? Well logic and physics tells us that round wheels are better than flat ones but could the incorporation of the solutions that were devised to combat the issues posed by flat wheels be beneficial eg. in a normal vehicle, if forward projecting sensors were to pick up that bumps, objects etc. were being approached, then vehicle shock absorption systems could be put into a state of readiness.
I raise this because one of the standout take-outs from the conference for me was an observation made during the Steve Vamos session. Amongst the 20 or so tables that worked on the ‘Top 3 things holding them and their business back’ was a common theme (approx. 80%) that the key challenge they faced was maintaining, or improving their and their practice’s effectiveness in an environment that is being increasingly bureaucratised by regulatory requirements.
Whilst the transitioning to XPlan and Opex will produce improvements and the sharing of procedures and “hacks” further advances, ultimate gains will only come from turning the problem ‘inside out’ and reconfiguring it using different approaches, different resources, different attitudes etc. A key case in point is how the Practice will deal ‘millennials’ who demand to be dealt with on their terms, in their time frames (24/7), with transparency etc. Not only do they not want to wait for an SOA to be produced, they want everything in their lives integrated and that includes their investments, their insurances and the like. Using Po, you could consider how the business would work in a an environment that only allowed digital interaction. What would need to change? Could any of the solutions arrived at be leverageable in the current digital/physical interaction world?
On a final note, how good was the conference? I thought the venue was great, the speaker line-up fantastic and the participation of all of you the glue that is making this a wonderful outfit to be a part of. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you all throughout the year, or at worst, next year’s conference. To those who brought their families, I hope they all enjoyed it and thanks for undulging our fantasy of combining business with family.