Updated: Apr 27
First airlines, then bars and restaurants, leisure centres, DIY stores and now garden centres. All these businesses are paralysed by this microscopic virus, which has replaced their employees’ busy lives with fear and uncertainty. Add a dose of frustration and incredulity at being forced to stay at home, and we get a sense of living in a parallel universe.
Two weeks into this lock-down existence, it's clear that life won’t be getting back to normal any time soon. The peak lies weeks ahead for most developed and developing countries. We have no choice but to stay at home.
For most of us, this throws up a load of conflicting challenges. In normal times I’m working abroad most weeks, but now I’m grounded. The vast majority of our revenue base from the face-to-face workshops we deliver around the world has been wiped out by the travel ban. Today’s the last day of our financial year, which has not ended on the high note we were expecting one month ago.
If, like me, you run your own business, it's time to get creative and reinvent what you do. If you work in the sectors above, your company may not survive this crisis, and it’s likely your priorities will be very different when you can return to work.
These are volatile and confusing times, and the future is far from certain: I've just spoken with a B2B client in Germany who explains that budgets have been put on hold and he awaits guidance from head office about future plans for him and his team.
Yet amidst the gloom, there are reasons to be positive. I’ve been lifted by the public out-pouring of support for our health workers, and by the spirit of volunteers stepping up to help.
During these weeks of forced confinement, we can re-connect with the family, get on our bikes, cook, read, meditate, learn to code or play the piano. We have time to reflect on what we’re really doing with our lives, and time to plan our future when we can get out there again. We have time. Lots of time.
We’re inviting you to join a FREE online Digital Transformation masterclass from April 6th - 9th
We’re working round the clock to reinvent our business from delivering Executive Education workshops to providing distance learning for our clients.
We want to do our bit to help the people and businesses facing uncertainty by inviting you, our clients and partners, to join a free online Digital Transformation masterclass from April 6th - 9th. Let's walk through this four day digital journey together to explore the essential ingredients of Digital Transformation, which is the future for most businesses.
I want to give you the knowledge to talk with confidence about the role of digital for your business. How digital drives customer behaviour, people and products. How to disrupt your own business before you are disrupted. How to disrupt others.
On the face of it, distance learning may look like a poor substitute for face-to-face workshops. Can you really replace the energy and learning dynamic which happens when people get together? What about the team building, and creating ideas which you translate to jobs, or to your next launch?
Yes, yes and yes. Alongside the workshops we run in 20 countries each year, I’ve been running online digital business strategy, digital marketing and digital disruption courses for MIT, Columbia Business School and Cambridge Judge Business School for 4 years with our partners Emeritus.
What you get with distance learning is a super effective antidote to the biggest challenge arising from face-to-face workshops: a lack of time. Most workshops take two days, back to back. That's 14 or 15 hours of intensive learning, activities and discussions, prompted by coffee breaks, lunch and prayers. By taking the same program, and extending it over 8 weeks, the whole dynamic shifts. Time works in our favour:
Time for you come prepared for the business challenge you’re looking to solve
Time to work in groups, and involve people who may not be available for the workshop
Time to come up with ideas you can evolve over the extended time learning together
More time for the people who need support and more advanced tasks for those with deeper knowledge
Time to work on activities or assignments, and to reflect on other participants’ ideas
Time to research, watch, read and share TED talks, video and articles
Time to work together and get input from the facilitator during and after the masterclass, supporting the 10, 20, 70 model for effective learning:
10% of our investment in education is derived from formal learning, 20% from learning through others, and 70% from learning on the job.
Online learning ticks all the boxes.
The tech is pretty good too, assuming your WiFi holds up. Most decent online learning platforms allow break out rooms for activities, discussion boards to post and comment on others’ assignments, and video hosting which allows you to learn when it suits you, and to watch as many times as needed to serve people of mixed ability. All in the comfort of privacy of your home.
Does distance learning really work? I was running a 9 month online prototyping sprint program last year for our partners ISDI, which raised some fascinating challenges. Picture this: 9 MBAs, working on a digital transformation prototype challenge for a well known global retailer. The task of ‘sprint master’ passed virtually from participants in Brazil, USA, Denmark, Spain, Thailand and Hong Kong each month, yet this resourceful group never met up.
Before signing off from the course to step up their careers, one of the team shared this image with her teammates. Their lives were truly transformed by their learning journey together.
The course is an excellent simulation for the real world, particularly during the lock-down world in which we all find ourselves today.
To register for our FREE four day Digital Transformation masterclass from April 6th - 9th, please click here
Understand how today’s digital disruptors operate and innovate
Engage your digital customer across the customer journey
Harness data and automation to drive decision making
Adopt an agile ‘move fast, fail fast’ mindset essential for innovation
Rob is Founder & CEO of Burn The Sky, the digital strategy and exec education specialist helping clients develop the skills and capabilities their teams need to thrive in the digital age.