The new WFH opportunity

What will the Work-from-home (WFH) movement mean for local economic growth prospects? And for startups looking to facilitate this new way of basically organizing the economy?

Futurist Thomas Frey has an interesting take, in which he basically says that while flexibility for people and corporations will be at an all time high, the demands on investment in infrastructure is going to be gigantic.

Of course he is referring to the investments in bandwidth, support infrastructure (incl. education) etc., but my bet is that the investment opportunity in more soft components of these emerging ecosystems is going to be just as massive.

Many will doubtless see the WFH future as the domain of the big tech companies. But I think there are countless opportunities for startups to come in, seize opportunities to make this new reality ‘gel’ better and build some very substantial businesses from it.

I especielly think this is going to hold true as the big corporations by default probably are the least suited towards figuring out what a new flexible workday outside the corporate controlled office should look and feel like. Here the more nimble, creative players should have a very good chance of carving something out (before they are eventually acquired by the big players, of course).

We may indeed be on the brink of a golden age for digital tools and services supporting a remote economy. The question is who are going to go after it, and what kind of products and services will end up winning in this space.

Personally, I can’t wait to find out.

(Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash)

Free your talents

What’s the point in spending a lot of time and effort in getting the best people to join your team, if you’re not prepared to let their talents loose for the good of the company?

It sounds like a stupid question, but in reality it happens all the time; great people are onboarded with promises of exciting challenges and an opportunity to make an impact. And a few months later they leave again, disgruntled, hopes dashed and with a really poor experience of you and your company.

Except in cases of a bad hire, it is rarely the departing team members fault that things didn’t go according to plan. It’s mainly on you for not ensuring that they were provided with the guidance, tools and mandate to do what they were hired to do.

Often this comes down to the fear of losing control as a founder. After all, you and your co-founders built the company to where it is today, and it would be a real disaster for anyone to come and mess that up. It’s super understandable, and I get it. But you can’t think like that if you want your company to continue on its growth trajectory.

Instead you need to realize that you have limits. That there are other and better people out there at doing what needs to get done to get to the next level. And that your task is to persuade them to join your company instead of the competition. And then – basically – get out of their way. Within reason of course.

Personally, I have always found that you generate the best results when you’re brave enough to be ambitious in your recruitment and go for people that are better and smarter than yourself and then do your utmost to provide them with the freedom to operate. Why? Because when they deliver according to expectations – or maybe well beyond that – you and your company deliver as well.

So please, free your talents. Or they will move on to somewhere else, where they can.

(Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash)

A challenge of a generation

Aside from climate change one of the most daunting trends facing us in the Western world is the thought that for the first time in generations, there is every chance that our kids are NOT going to be better off than we were compared to our parents and the generations before that.

In the US, which has always been the land of hope, dreams and opportunity, this has long tilted, and it is happening in Europe too (article in Danish) with the Mediterranean countries ‘leading’ the pack; growing economic wealth and prosperity as a function of time is by no means a given anymore.

As if that is not bad enough in itself, we’re at the same time filling our kids and youth with the exact opposite story: Everything is available for you, you choose, and your choices are (almost) free – except the luxury items and experiences you can also get and which you can get due to costs saved in other places and the access to cheap capital.

So in reality you could argue that our youth is living a lie, we helped them create, and that one day they will wake up to a staggering bill. When that happens, and consequences need to be reaped, there is no telling what will happen.

Now, this is not a doom’n’gloom piece even though I admit it looks like one. It is – as most of my other writings – a piece about opportunity for creative visionaries to take stock of the problem, go back and figure out how we’re going to solve one of the biggest generational challenges, we have probably ever faced.

I will admit I don’t have the answers. If I did I would probably be busy trying to set the right things in motion. But what I do know is that the opportunity is there for people with products and services that look to galvanize our youth and limit the future impact of the trajectory we’re seeing.

It could be in terms of new kinds of savings products. It could be about education ensuring an ability to ride the development and be presented with new opportunities. It could be about simple living and making that into ‘cool’ living. The list of opportunities are endless.

And there will be a huge need and market for it, once reality hits. An excellent way for the right people to combine a very strong purpose with a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity.

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

New life to dead markets

Dead Sea Markets.

A fascinating term. A term that suggests a market that has pretty much killed every entity in it (due to various reasons) but could still serve as a fertile ground for new entries and perhaps entire ecosystems.

Why is it so fascinating? Because it essentially provides a ‘firehose’ option. An option where if you can come up with the right thing, the right solution, customers will already be flocking looking to try and perhaps even buy. You don’t have to build and convince people there is a market, which is a huge advantage.

And yet, we often overlook these opportunities. We tend to find these industries and verticals slightly ‘tired’ and even ‘boring’, because it seems like every bit of oxygen has been sucked out of it.

And it may have been – if we look at the incumbents already trying to play in the industry.

But isn’t that exactly what we are looking for; a tired, boring incumbent underserving or even sunsetting a market, we could have the opportunity to serve way better?

My point here?

Don’t only look for highly profitable markets looking for opportunities to disrupt them. Look also for the ones that seems like they are dead, without air or any kind of energy.

Ask yourself this: Is it so because there really isn’t anything there at all? Or is it just because the ones already there are not really there?

Often you will find it’s the latter. Which should be your signal to consider an entry. Because chances are nobody else is having the same idea. Or just feels it is too hard (which, full discretion, it may indeed turn out to be).

And because you might be able to turn a Dead Sea into a Blue Ocean.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Get the outside view

If you’re stuck in whatever you’re doing or trying to accomplish, look outside your team and get an outside view on what you’re doing and where you should be taking things.

True, the person you approach may not be a subject matter expert like yourself. But on the other hand the person is also not so deep into the matter, as you are and may thus very well be able to see things a lot more clearly.

And it is that new clarity that you need for yourself, your team and – ultimately – your business. It may be just what the doctor ordered in order to get you out of your current predicament and onto a greater and better trajectory.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Join us!

If you are interested in working with turning ideas into viable startups, I have the perfect opportunity for you: Apply to become Growth Designer in our Studio team at inQvation.

We never know, when we start out with an idea, if it is going to fly or come crashing down on us. That is why we will be spending a lot of time and energy building, launching and analyzing experiments for a whole variety of ideas with the clear ambition to get to the real outstanding ones that truly stick and can form the basis for a worldclass startup. This is what we need you – our new Growth Designer – to help us with.

In order to be a good fit for the role, you need to be a teamplayer with a capital T. You need a decent toolbox for getting things done (pragmatism seriously valued), a solid curiosity coupled with tenacity. And a real ‘Can/Will Do!’ attitude to your work. We are ambitious, fast moving and just generally like to explore, build businesses and have fun doing so. So if it sounds like a fit, apply TODAY! I look forward to hearing from you.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Relevant ideas

It’s popular to say that it is easy to get ideas. And it is true: It is easy. But more often than not the people saying those exact words are the ones who at the end of the day manages the status quo because they are either empty of ideas, or because they are affraid their ideas will only attract ridicule. Best not get any then.

Wrong! Ideas should always spring to mind, as there are always things that can be improved. The trick is to get relevant ideas. So how do we get there?

First of all, we know our market, our customers and the forces that drive them. A lot of it is culture based on habits, and those things are hard to change. So better know them. Deeply. Second, we always assume an idea is less relevant to begin with and needs to be tested to increase it’s relevance score. We do that through experiments. And thirdly, we borrow from other known structures, incentives and what not from across industries to make sure that through the validation of the idea, it both stays relevant and adds a take to it that differentiates us from our competitors.

That is how an idea becomes relevant, stays relevant and – with a bit of luck – adds a differentiated feel to it that will help fuel its success.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Focus on outcomes

Just because ideas can be hard to turn into something concrete, it doesn’t mean you should stop having them. There always should be – and there always is – room for the bright idea.

What you could do however is to stop thinking about the quantity of ideas you could have and focus all your energy of the outcome, you want to achieve.

If you have a great – sorry – idea about the problem you’re trying to solve and where you want to take your company down the line, you need fresh ideas. And chances are the ideas you will get by having a sharp focus on the outcome will be both relevant, valuable – and absolutely worth pursuing.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)