I’m not a fan of stated “certainties”, but I do believe in the existence of one… CHANGE. It is inevitable and challenging at the same time. Change is happening all around us and we are aware of it, we see it. It is up to us to decide either we perceive it as a threat or see the possibilities that come with it.

There is an abundance of information all around us making the world seem more accessible with every day that passes. More and more, experiences are what defines us instead of possessions. Robotics present us with new production possibilities, new ways of living are created. The mass media audience today is fragmented across all digital distractions available instantly.

With every swipe, tap or voice command we experience new emotions, our perceptions change. We learn that we can have what we want when we want it and how we want it. And the reference point moves further and further. What we valued in the past is no longer valid today. It is just yesterday’s standard.

The motivation behind our choices shifts, our standards of excellence are higher, what we love or need identifies with the most intuitive experiences out there. This is us, everyday!

Yet, ironically, when we are within the closed doors of our office we seem to forget all that. Business as usual still prevails. We are all familiar, I believe, with the expression “the way we do things around here”. We definitely heard it more than once or even said it ourselves when a younger “misfit” was trying to pitch us a different way. We were taught to think by analogy, within limited boundaries and a safety net. We still stop at benchmarking ourselves against our competitors and the industry as a whole, when we should be comparing also with the top customer service/ customer experience/ app/ website there is.

Let’s think for a minute at those brands that presented us with a new normal… Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Starbucks. Do you want to go back to how things were? Does your family, friends or colleagues want to go back? Or we all want better? Different?

What are we going to do about it?

Well, learning to rethink the way we think can be the way to go. And while we are at it, focus on the customer and his/ her experience. We reached a point when it’s imperative to create new things that generate new value, understand why things are, how they might change and how we achieve growth.

I know that Kodak is a repetitive theme when someone wants to emphasize on the consequences of not adapting as a business, but it got stuck with me. So, here I am mentioning it again. Kodak failed to imagine a different future, to understand and predict their customers behaviors and preferences. In 1975 Steven Sasson invented the digital camera. Back then it took 50 milliseconds to capture the image and 23 seconds to record it to tape, according to the New York Times article on the subject. The Times writes that the device was a strange mixture of parts: a digital cassette recorder, a Super-8 movie camera, an analog-digital converter and other components connected through circuit boards. His bosses said no. ” They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set. Print had been with us for over 100 years, no one was complaining about prints, they were very inexpensive, and so “, Sasson declared. Kodak eventually did make the big switch to digital, but 18 years too late. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

When we will be asked to embark on a new revolutionary project, what will the answer be? Will it be yes? Will we fail to see the relevance? Fear will stop us? The conventional thinking will still win? Or maybe we will be the ones promoting the fresh idea to others.

But how do we go about it? Where can we find inspiration? How can we learn to rethink?

Not everyone is Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Richard Branson. And it’s ok. Although the media sometimes makes us believe that the innovation is just for the elite, it’s in fact open to everyone who would consider it.

Innovation is a mindset, it can be perfected by practice. It starts with perspective, seeing things differently, searching for answers, validating an idea, assessing the situation, identifying opportunities. The process is similar to design thinking.

As an exercise, let’s take on a problem. Instead of trying to fix it, let’s begin by dissecting it. Look at it from all angles, identify different ways to see it. Accept nothing and challenge everything. As the process evolves, new ideas will come up improving the original one.

We won’t become innovators over night, but we have to embrace the fact that the constantly evolving digital economy, technology and customers behaviors all require a different perspective, a fresh approach. The way people change and continue to do so is not going to go back to what was yesterday. So, it’s time to take on change. It all starts with us.