Opportunity Knocks

Nature wired us to see threats before we see opportunities—it's the traditional way to survive. But that makes it really easy to find another excuse to avoid taking a risk.

Here is the biggest risk—where you see a threat, others see an opportunity. And if you don’t act, bad things may happen.

Fintech provides a classic study in risk vs opportunity. It’s not easy being a startup in a highly regulated industry, but their very opportunity is generated by the elephantine approach of the large banks, incumbents that believe they have a centuries old strangle hold on how banking clients are serviced—slow, safe, and at the bank’s convenience. But the Fintech dam is beginning too break and will drag some too slow to fail banks with it.

If I had a dime for the number of times I’ve heard “security concerns” cited as a reason not to improve the customer’s experience, not to share information in a way that will benefit everyone but a few incumbent Victorian businesses, I’d be visiting my bank more often. Fact is, security is a technology problem that can be solved. From the perspective of advancing service levels, it’s a poor excuse. The industry simply has to decide to make it happen.

Healthcare treatment innovation amazes me, but the industry has stood still on customer experience for too long. I know—I’ve seen it with my own eyes. We all know the stakes are high, but patient privacy is abused as a reason to avoid faster communication with patients, reducing staff work pressures and improving efficiencies along the way. How can that NOT result in better health, more lives saved. Again, the industry simply has to decide to make it happen, and it will.

Your position in the threat vs opportunity scale will dictate your strategy. Do you consider your organization to be a leader, an early mover, or a fast follower?

The jury’s out as to whether fortune truly favours the brave, but we know it doesn’t favour the dinosaur.


  1. List the top three innovations that your business is currently pursuing.

  2. Google your industry’s “innovation examples” ( “manufacturing innovation examples”, “insurance innovation examples”, “healthcare innovation examples”, etc) and spend a few minutes clicking through the list.

  3. List the top three innovations that are occurring in your industry.

  4. Now Google “innovation examples” (without an industry name), study things that catch your eye and notice what barriers were overcome.

  5. List three innovations that your business could pursue that could change your industry. And list the barriers that you (or your competitors) would have to overcome to make things work.

Compare your current innovations with the last list. What could this mean for your business?

Call me during this week's office hours—Friday between 9-noon Eastern on (647) 400 2514—and let’s look at your lists together. It’s the best 20 minute investment you’ll make this week.

... and if you missed these related articles, go back and take another look:

Are you being lazy about your Customer experience?

Where should you draw the line on sharing?

Know Your Risk

Let Information Flow

A Question of Innovation