Wellness, time management and innovation

I attended a fascinating lecture this week on “wellness”. This sector has mushroomed in the past decade, seemingly valued at billions in whichever country you are resident.

And in a period, where the “pace of life” is constantly driven faster by new apps and smaller devices, “wellness” devotees correctly pose the question: “Are managers and business owners able to find time for everything they want to do”? What important tasks get ignored at work? And how many of us are guilty of cutting in to family time?

Solutions are not simple. One interesting approach was offered by my IIB colleague, Siu Ling Hui from Melbourne, Australia. Writing in the latest edition of her monthly posting, Ruminations, she questioned if “we are busy with the right stuff”.

And if not? Siu wonders if businesses invest too little time, money and resources in innovation and marketing, activities which create value today and in the future.

…..innovation isn’t just about inventing ground breaking world shattering products. It is equally about harnessing new technologies or new ways of doing things so as to be able to deliver your products or services more effectively to your customers than your competitors………..

 As for marketing,  Siu concludes that you must invest creatively or perish. For example,

Whilst many of the major (Australian) retailers are crying poor and bitching about the competitive threat of internet, there are many new small retail businesses which have harnessed the power of technology to create innovative business models.

Kogan (consumer electronics) and the Shoes of Prey are just two young innovative retailers who are thriving ……

Consider the book retailing industry. The REDGroup, owner of Borders and Angust & Robertson book store chains in Australia, went into administration in February 2011. Price competition from the internet and the protectionist policy that forced local retailers to buy from Australian publishers were blamed for the demise of the chains………Small independent book stores have been able to survive because they offer their customers something extra beyond just books: knowledgeable staff who genuinely engage with the customers. The “soul-less” large chains didn’t provide that to compensate for the higher prices.

Innovation is so often linked to hightech, that we forget how it is relevant for just about every commercial sector and beyond.

Two of my current customers could learn a simple lesson from Siu’s advice. One runs a gift store, which is open long hours. Local competition is fierce, but the owner is reluctant to risk taking on new items in case he will be copied by others. Another is looking for a career change, but will not bring themselves to decide on new opportunities.

In both cases, the client remains (for now) encased in the comfort zone of the past. Yet they are engaged in spending time doing what they do not enjoy. The result? Not a lot of wellness and an unhealthy bank account.

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