The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines inclusion as “the act of including: the state of being included”. Thus, by its very definition those not included are excluded and herein lies the rub. For the financial and service sectors, and greater society, solving the inclusion/exclusion problem has profound implications for how we emerge from the pandemic and transition effectively to the COVID-19 economy.
In the COVID-19 economy, all of us – individuals and businesses alike – are looking for a new way forward, a solution to the challenges of the current crisis. We are facing the same predicaments that were once limited to those seeking to start, grow or invest in a business; not knowing where or how to begin and lacking the access, know-how and connections to do so. Today we are all in the same boat and need to work together to solve our common problem. We have an historic opportunity to jumpstart a decimated economy by remaking a business ecosystem that is better and far more inclusive than the one we have left behind.
A Call for Dramatic Action
Clearly, this is not the time to play it safe. Rather, the opposite is true. Leaders need to step up, be unconventional and take dramatic action or be left behind. Echoing these sentiments, Johnson & Johnson’s CEO Alex Gorsky stated: “This is a bit of a moonshot for J&J going forward, but it’s one we feel is very, very important for us to be doing at this period in time.”
Gorsky makes it clear that doubling down on efficiency and survival mode amid disruption is far too risky. Not coming up with new growth and innovation strategies is unacceptable. Failing to develop external partnerships and new business/product models that focus on stakeholder value is a non-starter. It is imperative to create a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, demonstrating how much more your business can and will do. It is time to drop the silos and reach for the stars — not unlike the Manhattan Project or the Space Race — and do something big for your organization and your ecosystem.
The shift to digital platforms
To do that, online platforms will play an outsized role going forward. They are the key to the future, creating a new era of inclusion, collaboration, and “heroes” for a better tomorrow. In the race to deliver the best customer experiences, companies will increasingly turn to platforms to accelerate interactions and transactions, giving super-participation powers to users. Platforms like Robinhood (young professionals), Tinder (young adults), and Shopify (online store startups) have already demonstrated how changing the user experience for a market segment can trigger successful industry disruption and virtuous cycles.
New digital marketplaces and business membership communities from DealRockit, create deeper partnerships and collaborations, allowing businesses to offer free products with far-reaching capabilities and benefits to invited clients, prospects, and business/referral partners immediately. The company’s multi-marketplace, customer engagement software, optimizes customer experience and financial inclusion, making it simpler to scale and fund innovation by bringing together buyer, seller, investor, capital seeker, and service providers into an inclusive collaborative space.
The New Heroes
America is often shaped by large companies, but our country’s exceptionalism comes from startups and small businesses. Thus, our new heroes could very well be those large enterprises, yes those very ones already under immense pressure prior to COVID-19, that thanks to platforms will now be able to answer the challenge of releasing digital products in days or weeks rather than being left behind. These firms will not only meet the challenges of today but help bring inclusion to more people and businesses than ever before.
It will be these visionary firms, using platforms, that will create never thought possible external partnerships and collaborations with small businesses, that will drive the new age of American exceptionalism and financial inclusion. This round of innovation and small business success stories will largely center on how previous strangers came together quickly to achieve outsized results and became the new innovators that others aspired to be.
Investing in an Ecosystem
Entrepreneurs, enterprises, and small business owners looking for innovative pivots will need help. The best way to counter market disruptions and grow is to start with the ecosystem in front of you. This means your teams, prospects, clients, referral partners and others that make up your company’s constituency. Platforms like DealRockit make this process much easier and will prove invaluable for business efforts post COVID-19, as individuals, businesses and enterprises strategize about innovation and ways to move the economy past the pandemic.
The results? A fast track to growth, a better map for navigating change, improved customer experiences, and broader financial inclusion. That is a recipe for success.
- David Carmell