Steije Renes and Elrik Paap founded The Next Organization together in 2010. The strategic consultancy firm specialises in optimising and innovating business models to improve the commercial performance of organisations, both at home and abroad. In the past two years of the coronapandemic, organisations have had to face various challenges, and that is why we ask the founders how they experienced this time.
The world has been completely changed in no time by the coronapandemic. How do you view the situation that has arisen?
In the market, we are seeing an acceleration of developments that were actually already in the pipeline or even in progress. Because of this acceleration, the need to innovate business models has strongly increased. This makes agility increasingly important for organisations to be able to deal with this continuously changing context.
How do you experience the crisis within the organisation?
Fortunately, we were already ready and used to working 'remotely'. And where adjustments were needed, colleagues took to it positively and relatively easily. Here too, however, it is an accelerator of change in working methods with clients and colleagues. It is a permanent challenge to find new forms of contact in order to develop a culture, have deep relationships and arrive at creative solutions.
How do you experience the crisis with your customers? What impact does it have?
The difference in impact is great, for some relationships it is only a practical challenge, for others the business model is completely turned upside down. In the beginning, the focus was more internal, then the focus shifted to re-evaluating and anticipating the new reality.
What opportunities do you experience that have become visible due to the crisis?
Innovation needs movement and organisations need to move now, and that is exactly what we are helping with. It offers room for new things, like playing our Marketing and Sales game online. Normally we play this physically and now online with 120 participants in different countries. The fact that something like this turns out to work well offers new opportunities.
What will the world look like if the coronavirus is completely under control or curable?
Will we just pick up where we left off? Or are we going to do things differently?
We are creatures of habit with fundamental needs that do not really change. We have learned how to do things differently, with an intrinsic contribution to society being a prerequisite for long-term success in terms of attracting and retaining customers and employees.
A number of themes in society and therefore in organisations are becoming increasingly prominent. Think of digitalisation and vital, social and sustainable living. People were already talking about it and working on it, but now these aspects are proving to be preconditions for an economically sustainable business model.
What do you want to give to your employees, customers and partners during this period?
Focus on what really matters and ensure agility. Who are the customers, what are their needs in the new context and how do you anticipate this as an organisation? This is something that must become part of the rhythm of the organisation. Continuously and organisation-wide.