Business development in turbulent times

Synopsis: The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has over the past weeks changed all our lives profoundly, in ways that few people would have imagined just a couple of months ago. Navigating a highly uncertain and constantly changing context, while actively contributing to building the future that we want to see, has never been more important.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has over the past weeks changed all our lives profoundly, in ways that few people would have imagined just a couple of months ago. This type of rapid change, which cascades around the world with ripple effects across different sectors, from human health to our economies, to geopolitical relations and to the environment, is a typical feature of our time in history – the Anthropocene.

In Prosperous Planet’s first white paper, which we posted just a couple of weeks ago (before all this started) and which focused on what the Anthropocene means for business development, we concluded that running a successful business will, from now on, require a fundamentally new set of strategies because of the globalized, hyper-connected, and rapidly changing reality of the world today.

In our second white paper, posted shortly after, we elaborated why these strategies must focus on sustainability, and why companies need to aim beyond break-even in their sustainability work, contributing real solutions to the global grand challenges that we face today, in order to succeed in the Anthropocene.

The current global crisis highlights the need for companies to develop such strategies now. Navigating a highly uncertain and constantly changing context, while actively contributing to building the future that we want to see, has never been more important. This goes for large and small companies, in all kinds of sectors. And while we know that thinking long-term can be a challenge when you are struggling to survive the day, we also know that this is exactly what is needed, because the Anthropocene is here to stay. And it changes everything, for everyone, everywhere; moving sustainability from a peripheral concern to the center stage of business development, and making the capacity to develop in the face of change a defining feature of successful companies.

One way forward is to look at the Delta model, developed by us at Prosperous Planet. It combines a theoretical framework and an innovation process that helps companies navigate the changes of the Anthropocene, towards business opportunities beyond break-even sustainability. The Delta model weaves together the latest insights from the sustainability science frontier, with cutting edge thinking on innovation in business development, and the most current theories on organizational change management. The result is powerful, as these issues, although often treated separately, all need to be considered in a coordinated manner to unlock a company’s full Anthropocene potential.

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