Signals of change from four industries. The iceberg of ignorance.

button, street, road, ignorance


“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it’s just possible you haven’t grasped the situation.”  The Jean Kerr quote dates back a few years, but rings true today and draws a glancing reference to the iceberg of ignorance.

We regularly talk to senior people who have tried to start a strategic innovation review in their company, only to be told there’s no funding for a meaningful look at what the company is doing, because all the attention’s focused on short-term issues.

And yet, everywhere you look (if you look), the signals are there to show you that many, many companies won’t survive the next few years. Sorry to be the one to keep saying this, but the signals really are big, bright and shiny.

It’s easy for any/every C-Suite to say this is bollocks, but absolutely everybody else (the 96%) will nod their head and shrug.

Have you seen this image before? It’s pretty well-known now, but its view of the business world is well-researched.

iceberg of ignorance

So, our enquiries come from team leaders and managers who know things are not as great as they could be, and whose 4% are blocking the active initiative to change direction. Is this you?

Here are just a few signals that might provoke a new attitude across your business, whatever your sector might be:

Who needs a credit card?

1 in 3 US Millennials don’t have a credit card. Buy now, pay later services that sit outside the retail/ consumer relationship are growing and (hopefully) threaten payday loans. Companies like Sezzle pay upfront, and the consumer pays in four equal, interest-free payments. It’s claimed that basket values lift as a result. Not exactly environmentally tuned-in, but it has seen a badly met need and improved the consumer service – for a while.

Booze vs TT

27% of UK 16 to 24 year olds are teetotal. The low and no-alcohol beer sector is growing really quickly. If you’re a brewer, what’s your plan?

The health of healthcare

Look at health insurance and see how companies in the US like Clover, ZoomCare and others are making inroads to traditional health services. In fact, Clover is actively targeting people who find health care difficult to access. Oscar and Vitality have shaken up health insurance with different benefits and a different way of interacting with customers. It’s making traditional health and insurance providers look very old.

These changed services have been around for a while now, and yet the broader landscape in their industries is not obviously shifting. Type in Bupa and HCA now and see what you get.

It was plastic fantastic. Now it’s embarrassing.

Plastics are under pressure. “PM declares war on scourge of plastic waste as she unveils much-heralded 25-year environmental plan” was the headline in January 2018. It might not be common for governments to reflect consumer sentiment but, for once, it seems as if Theresa May got it right. More right anyway, than a leading UK retailer has, according to this quote from April:

“Disappointed and disturbed to read the FoE report that plastic is not reducing food waste, and may in fact, be increasing it. Every instinct I have tells me this is not right.”

Now, there are two sides to every story, but hanging on to an industry view just because that’s what you do, and because you have a profit motive, isn’t good enough anymore. So, if you blow plastic bags or extrude plastic packaging, now is a really good time to consider how long your business can survive without a changed view.

What happens next?

‘Innovation’ deals in life and industry-changing ideas. We don’t call it innovation if it can’t ever be realised as an improved consumer experience. And we don’t sit here and bang this stuff out because we are self-interested. Innovation evangelists like room44 are here because we’ve see the signs early and want to help.

Back to you.

Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.