Ever since I finished my handover role at APHS Packaging in the second half of 2013, the question of ‘what’s next?’ has been getting increasingly frustrating.
I knew that ‘what’s next’ for us had to position us for the coming mega-trends in healthcare, where insights would be delivered by big data using the vast quantities of information gathered via the internet of things, peoples increasing desire to quantify their own activity and lifestyle information, all combined with more traditional health information records.
That bit was the easy part, it was the figuring out what the business application was that was the tough bit. I knew there was an opportunity there for us, but it remained elusive and frustratingly out of reach.
I’m not the most patient of people and it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t pin it down. Stuart gave me great advice and told me the harder I tried the less likely it was I would find something. He encouraged me to stay with our tried and true strategy of continuing to put ourselves in out of the box, idea stimulating scenarios and that inevitably opportunities would crystallise.
The first part of the plan came together in a way that completely reinforced this. I attended the AICD company directors course at the end of January and while the course itself was well worthwhile, I also met number of great people there. One of them found the week provided the catalyst for leaving her current role and sent an email letting us all know. While she had never worked in health before, I had a real belief she was just what we needed for this new business venture, despite the fact that we didn’t know exactly what it was yet!
In what was surely one of the most unusual interviews ever, I told her that the role involved leading a business whose activities could be thought of like gorillas in the mist; we knew the gorillas were there, but still needed the mist to clear before we could properly identify them.
The fact that she not only didn’t think we were completely mad, but took the job completely reinforced that she was the right person, and sure enough before long those gorillas started to appear in much greater clarity. By the end of the year, some of the original ones we thought we had sighted had disappeared back into the mist, but plenty of new ones had emerged in the meantime.
We now see ourselves working hard on a broad range of products, some which better connect us with our customers and increase the range and type of services we deliver to them, and others which will be less externally visible but allow us to do what we do in a more efficient and effective manner.
New business ideas are often represented as light bulb moments, but in my experience our best commercial ideas have rarely if ever been born in a single moment of inspiration, they are much more likely to have to be teased gently out of hiding, and often take several forms before finally being revealed.
2014 was the year the gorillas emerged from the mist , but 2015 will be the year they take their place on our Epic stage!