By Marianne Haahr
I’d like to ask for five minutes of your time – four, if you’re a fast reader.
In just five minutes, I can share something with you that I believe will transform the way you lead your business. In just five minutes, I can share three secrets that will unlock your mindset and help you become an opportunity leader.
I can tell within moments of meeting someone if they have an opportunity mindset or not. I’ve learned this from working with organisational leaders all over the world in the process of making the Global Opportunity Report each year. And the good news is that not all great opportunity leaders are born with this mindset; they learn it. And you can learn it too.
1. The core can kill you
Opportunity leaders spend more time on the edges of their business landscape than at the core. It is at the edges where new solutions emerge and innovation happens.
When you live on the edge, you can better see new markets, new sectors, new players – new opportunities. You can see the way – and the need – to build hybrid business models with other opportunity leaders on the edge of their business landscapes. In the Global Opportunity Reports we can see, first-hand, this trend of rising markets at the edges – such as the those between food and pharma, and between banking and telecommunication, just to mention a few.
When you focus on your core, you lose sight of the edge. It means that great opportunity leaders are always ‘heads up’ – they look to the points furthest away from their business landscape. They live on the edge because it is closer to the future.
2. Risk can be your rescue
I’ll tell you now that the greatest risks to your business are also your greatest opportunities.
You exist in a systemic risk landscape. In this growing, global sharing economy, we all share the risks. Your risk, is my risk. But every risk needs a solution, and that is your business opportunity.
Here’s just one example: In 2050, simple infections will kill more people than currently die from cancer. Just let that sink in for a moment. This is because antibiotics are so overused that they will eventually stop working. We are becoming more and more resistant to them every day that goes by because they are everywhere in our surrounding environment, and in our prescriptions. The World Health Organisation sees this as the greatest public health risk of our time. It’s frightening, isn’t it?
But this risk is driving an entirely new market of products and services to respond to resistance. These markets are putting fewer antibiotics into your food production and into your bodies. This risk drives the huge market potential for probiotics, which gives our bodies more of the good bacteria, so we can significantly bring down the use of antibiotics. The probiotics ingredients market will be worth 46.55 billion USD by 2020. It is driving market transformation. Risk can be your rescue.
3. Unlock access to opportunity
We already know that future markets will drive access over ownership. Cars, clothes, houses; stuff. The Sustainable Development Goals demand a much bigger question of us all – how can we provide more access to opportunity? How can we provide more access to finance, to education, to food security; to better lives?
Let’s take smart farming. It exists in many forms, and we know it’s a growing market but we need to transform it into smart farming 2.0 by using it as a way to unlock access to opportunity. In Denmark, where I come from, smart farming is high-tech in order to produce more with less. In Africa, we talk about the mobile phone replacing the hoe as the most important agricultural tool.
But as opportunity leaders we have to ask ourselves: does this really cut it? Sure, the mobile phone is more readily available in Africa than ever before, especially amongst the most vulnerable communities, but is that the full arc of transformation? I believe we need to do more to create a world without hunger. Hello Tractor is a good example of that shift towards access to opportunity. It is the Uber for tractors, by which this simple platform gives farmers affordable access to otherwise hugely expensive farming equipment, whilst facilitating access to microfinance and additional support services. These elements work together to create more than the sum of their parts – they create access to food security, not just new technology.
Are you the next opportunity leader?
So these are the three secrets that I believe will make you an opportunity leader. We are operating in a transformative global market landscape, which you can help shape if you live on the edge, use risk as a rescue and unlock access to opportunity.
There’s no reason why you can’t start using these secrets today. Why not head here and join our digital innovation campaign to find the world’s best business opportunities which respond to five major risks? It might be your first step to becoming a new global opportunity leader.