Nov. 8, 2021

Disrupting Disruption-How Businesses Are Recovering from Pandemic Effects

Disrupting Disruption-How Businesses Are Recovering from Pandemic Effects

This week, Ryan interviews Shammah Banerjee, Senior Editor at Nimbus Ninety, about the state of business recovery 18 months in to the pandemic.


  • Hybrid working challenges and humanness 
  • What is the state of recovery since the start of the pandemic?
  • Organisations are more willing to experiment and aim for progress over perfection
  • More organisations are identifying as disrupters
  • Digital workspace is more importance to the business
  • Many businesses are recovering faster than anticipated
  • Leadership and culture remains challenging
  • Changing meaning of resilience 
  • Key report takeaways

Meet Our Guest
As Senior Editor at Nimbus Ninety, Shammah leads the Editorial team to produce research and content that explores the disruptive trends impacting how businesses work. Nimbus Ninety is the independent community for disruptive business and technology leaders. It exists to connect innovators, changemakers and disruptors from all sectors to share their experience of disruption and move forwards together. You can download the State of Recovery Report here:

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In the series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they're facing, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, that'll help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

So welcome Sarah to the digital workspace works podcast. Do you want introduce yourself? And numbers? 90, please?

Shammah Banerjee 0:35
Yeah, thanks for having me. Ryan. Really good to be here. So my name is Shama. Bannerjee. I am the senior editor at Nimbus 90. And Nimbus 90 is a business and technology community, which is focused on disruption. So we bring together business leaders from across all industries, with the aim of talking about how is disruption impacting how you're running your business, how your business models are working. And we started when we kind of when it was founded. 16 years ago, we started looking at technology and how technology is disrupting. Today, I think there are well, back in back in that time as well. But today, we are focused around all sorts of different types of disruptions. So primarily technology, but actually, how is how is the conversation around climate change and climate action impacting business? How is kind of sustainability conversations, political conversations, economic conversations? How is all of that impacting business? And how should business leaders be responding? So that's what Nimbus nine, two years, and we are focused around kind of three major pillars, which is our research, our events and our content? So that will be kind of what are we talking about today?

Ryan Purvis 1:49
Lovely, thank you. And the reason why we got contact is you did send you sent a survey that I answered, and I was really impressed with what you were asking. Purely because, you know, you get all these surveys. And sometimes it's the same old questions, but you had some really interesting questions. And hopefully, we'll cover some of that today. Just to get one of the standard questions out the way What does a digital workspace mean to you?

Shammah Banerjee 2:13
Yeah, so I think digital workspace has changed a lot in the last couple of years, of course, with the pandemic, and everyone has to work digitally remotely, the desk desk based workforce. And so I think what, what it means to me today is actually, what is the responsibility that business leaders have to ensure that their workforce has access to digital digital workspaces, and no one's being left behind almost. So there is like that democratization of that across the workspace workforce. One thing that one of our advisory board members was talking to us about when we had it, we had a board dinner, and we were talking about this whole issue of how can we make sure that, you know, all everyone in the workforce is getting involved? How do you run a hybrid meeting, and the consensus was actually it doesn't work, having someone on Zoom, and thereafter in the room, that just doesn't really seem to work, because the person on Zoom always gets left up, left behind. And there's always there's going to be a focus one way or the other, either, whether that's the virtual people or the physical people. So I think the challenge today is really marrying that those two, those two spaces, the digital space and the physical space, and making sure that there is a fairness across the board. So that's probably what it means to me, I think.

Ryan Purvis 3:32
Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned that example, when meeting because that makes me think of Facebook changed the name to meta, and trying to drive this. And it was actually a very good book, I think it's called shift, I need to find out and find the book. But it was basically the example that you join a meeting as an avatar. Now, you could be in your bedroom, you just got out of bed in your pajamas, and you're in your robe. You know, just putting in drinking a cup of coffee, and now you're joining this avatar, but as an avatar, but in the in that world, the virtualized world, you are in a suit, or whatever the the right clothing is for that meeting, but you look, you know, bright eyed and bushy tailed, just to have the meeting. And it doesn't matter who you're meeting with, because it could be you know, across the globe, I don't think we'll ever solve the timezone problem. But at least you can you can save the commute and the the presence thing to an extent using some of this new technology.

Shammah Banerjee 4:28
Yeah, absolutely. I think what we've, what we've seen, and this is just kind of anecdotally, from speaking to a lot of the people who in our community is just that sense of actually, other things are more important than just work like, you see people's kids popping up in the back of their zoom. And actually, it's really nice because you can ask about them and learn a bit more about that person and they become more than just a square on the screen. But actually you can see a bit more into their personal life, which I think is really nice to build, build a connection and augment the working relationship. But it's funny

Ryan Purvis 5:01
you say that because there's two things that I have changed since we've been working remotely more permanent. And I've bear in mind, I've worked remotely and I've worked in the office, my whole career, I've always preferred the the choice, because I still think it's a bit of both of it, it is hybrid. But I find it really interesting how you can tell a lot about a person by how they interact. In this way, the people that always turn the cameras off, even though they could turn the cameras on people that blue their backgrounds versus having, you know, some some stock standard background, or they've selected their own, or those that read, you know, whatever's behind me, you can see I mean, you can see me as his cupboards and, and whatever. But as you say, it gives you a way to connect, whereas I think we're in the old days, and you're all in the meeting room. It was it was very difficult to connect, because it was no triggers to grab on to, you know, unless they were, you know, wearing a badge or something that are interesting piece of jewelry. There wasn't much to connect on. So I think it's made us more human, I guess is the ironically, considering it's actually less physical contact.

Shammah Banerjee 6:06
Yeah, absolutely. I think the number of times I've asked about something that's in someone's background, or I've seen a book on their shelf, and I'm like, Oh, I'm reading that book. Oh.

Ryan Purvis 6:19
That's actually a girl because you know how someone said, Oh, that's I just bought that book. I haven't read it yet. Oh, they got the book already.

Shammah Banerjee 6:28
Read the Wikipedia summary.

Ryan Purvis 6:30
Yes. Yes. So the research you guys are doing was called the state of recovery. Georgia. Tell us a bit about that, and what your insights were?

Shammah Banerjee 6:38
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so like I mentioned before, we are a community focused on disruption. I think COVID was probably the biggest disruption that we had ever seen as a community, obviously, for everyone. And so we wanted to kind of dig into that, that disruption that our community had faced, and like I mentioned, the cross industry. So some industries are really impacted. We had obviously a lot of people in retail hospitality, who were really impacted by the pandemic. And then other industries, where actually, it the impacts of the pandemic actually accelerated what they were doing. So we wanted to understand what happened across industries across different organizations sizes, how has digital capability impacted, but and yeah, really dig into really dig into what those different businesses were seeing. When we actually have i It kind of scroll back a bit to March, April of last year, when everything kind of kicked off in the UK. We started a podcast, discussion forum thing called chief disruptive Breakfast Club. And the point of that was to get different people in and basically ask them, how are you managing to deal with this, the first series was called pivot, don't panic. So basically saying, How are you pivoting? How are you not panicking? Or are you panicking. And we, and one of the very first episodes, we had the Chief Information Officer of boots, come join us and talk about that. And one thing he was telling us was that he has seen well, for his team, they weren't doing or aiming to do 10 years of innovation in the space of 10 weeks. So that acceleration, the amount of work they were able to get through was just off the off the charts because they had to because it was out of necessity. So coming back to the research, that was really what we want to look at a year on or a year and a half on from the beginning of the pandemic. What is the state of recovery look like now? And how has it changed business?

Ryan Purvis 8:45
So sorry, I need to ask this question. So 10 weeks of digital disruption for 10 years, is that sort of Elan Musk kind of idea that forgive you more time you take more time? And if we give you less time, you get more done in less time, that sort of mentality? I mean, what what was the, the drive for them? And what are they? What quick corners? Did they? It's not a cut, but let's say to sharpen in order to get stuff done? Did he tell you?

Shammah Banerjee 9:10
Um, so I think I think it's probably more a case of stuff had to be done overseas, at the very baseline level, every person in the authorization needed to be set up digitally to work with our podcast. So that was like a big thing that just had to happen straight away. And then I think from an innovation standpoint, if your boots and all of your stores clothes, everything is going through your website, what you know, how do you speed up that process? How do you make sure stuff is getting into the hands of customers faster? It's a necessity thing. So I think I mean, there's always one thing which I don't think it was the guy from booth that we were talking to, but just generally what we what we hear in this space was It was everything sped up, is that things are going I think Organizations happier to get stuff out when it's not perfect, because it's like, actually, we just need to get something out now, because that's, that's the necessity of the situation. And so I think there's that that aspect of organizations just being more willing to experiment and more willing to push stuff out to market. Anything that's,

Ryan Purvis 10:22
yeah, good enough versus perfect. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And sometimes that can be a matter of perception. You know, when you when you're very close to it, do you think it's probably good enough? And you're okay with it, but someone who's receiving it's going, oh, you know, why didn't they do this? Why don't they do that. And there's a level of managing expectations. But But I think if we move down this route of incremental improvements, a lot of those things that are gaps to begin with, and we've seen this, and you can look at some of the big vendors, we Microsoft releasing windows 11. And then about a month later releasing about the other half of Windows 11. Because obviously wasn't finished. It is it's becoming a mechanism that we're all getting comfortable with as much as the peers don't like it.

Shammah Banerjee 11:09
Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing that we kind of historically ask our community every year and our big annual piece of research is, what's your what's your organization's attitude to failure? Is it okay with failure? Like, do you learn from failure? And increasingly, we've seen a kind of positive shift towards Yes, we learn from failure, yes, we are allowed to experiment. I can't remember the exact stats, but it's the majority of organizations now saying that they are allowed to, to kind of experiment in that way, I think the industry that's really not allowed to experiment in that way, interestingly, as financial services, that's what we saw in research, which I think is fairly self explanatory.

Ryan Purvis 11:55
I probably challenge that, having worked in financial services, and I think it does come down to what you're experimenting with. So obviously, obviously, there's regulations, you got to do it. To meet and be accountable to, so you can't really experiment there, because the regulations are, in most cases, pretty clear cut. And, you know, you have to do certain things. But what I have found, and having moved around from inside the financial services into other industries, is there's actually quite a lot of aggressive, assertive experimentation in financial services, because they've got the money to do it. And when I say that, there's big budgets, they are, you know, lots of resources. And I'm not saying that they splurging. But what I'm saying is, if there's a drive, and my background is in user experience, you know, as a bank, we, you know, the two banks I worked with, there was a lot spent to make sure that the employees in the bank were productive and effective, as much as possible with the tools they were given. And that's, and that's the only way to make that really happen was to use cutting edge technologies, you know, AI, corrective measures, predictive analytics, that sort of stuff, which, you know, we will do this stuff 10 years ago. But compare that to where the market is the market is now starting to catch up to oh, we should be doing this kind of stuff. So, so I think, yeah, it depends on where you are. And in fact, compared to shipping, shipping is very conservative, in comparison. And have it's been three years and then industry, the pace is definitely a lot slower, but you have pockets of acceleration. And again, it comes back to the big guys, you know, the likes of shell and mercy, etc, where they've got the budgets to do the experimentation. And they almost, if you think about that sort of hype curve, they're almost in the in the leg, sort of side of it compared to everyone else. But now they're starting to accelerate because they're going to see, see value. And, and a lot of this is funny tide back to climate change. Because a vessel is quite inefficient, much like a car is quite inefficient. When it comes to driving through the water, you're losing 50% of the energy as you propel yourself forward for what you're spending in fuel, and then obviously fix the carbon neutrality of a vessel. So it's interesting. Yeah, I mean, we could talk about all the stuff ages, and maybe this is a good chance to bring in some of your questions. I have to say, I appreciate somebody comes in with a list of questions for me to use, as opposed to me having to make them up. But you had a question for me to ask you, which is which organization types and industries have seen a big recovery shift? Yeah,

Shammah Banerjee 14:37
so we've put together something based based around the survey and that right much data about about business health. So we asked organizations to put themselves on a business health scale from zero to 10, both in April 2020. So kind of once the impact of the pandemic really starts to ripple out And now, so other point that they were taking a survey we saw that we did this because like I mentioned earlier, we wanted to understand why different industries worldwide different organization size as well. What we saw was the average business health in April 2020 was 6.8. And that is now increased to 7.73. Today. So we've seen, we've seen a significant shift in that sense. And in terms of when we look at industries, like I mentioned earlier, leisure and retail, as an industry was really impacted. And it was actually the only industry with more than half of the respondent sitting at five or less in April 2020. So that I think was quite a significant, significant data point. But it was also the industry that saw the largest jump from April 2020 to today. So it jumped by 1.69 on that scale. So really, we can see that actually, that industry has accelerated their recovery. I think bots of those organizations have used a distributed ability to do that, which we can chat about later as well. And, yeah, they're making substantial steps towards that kind of recovery piece. So from an industry standpoint, that's what it was looking like from a attitude to disruption. So we ask, in all of our surveys, as a community that's focused around disruption, we ask organizations to say, or what's your attitude to change? Are you a disrupter? So are you actually driving the change? Are you a proactive defender? So are you responding proactively to change? Or are you were reactive defender responding reactively to change? And, and what we have seen over the last few years is more and more organizations are calling themselves disruptors, which I think is interesting in itself.

Ryan Purvis 16:52
So do you have an opinion on that? Why do you think they call themselves disruptors?

Shammah Banerjee 16:57
No, yeah, good point. I think it's, it's difficult because we are we are looking at people from different industries. So I think depending on the industry, there's so much happening in different industries that are actually, you know, depending on the industry, there's a whole different story. Um, I think it's linking back to what we were talking about earlier with that willingness to experiment, and also digital maturity. So one thing we look at is how does this attitude to change link to digital maturity? Is there a link? So another question we asked our respondents is, where do you put yourself in that digital maturity spectrum? More and more people are saying digital is in our DNA. And more and more people are saying we are disruptors. So I think there is definitely a link there in terms of you can't be a disrupter if you're not digitally mature, and really digitally advanced. So I think that natural maturity that we're seeing, and that which has been accelerated by COVID-19, um, I think that is, is pushing organizations to that end of the scale.

Ryan Purvis 18:02
Do you think it's it's a case of, of these organizations, making it a strategic choice to disrupt their market? Or do you think they're disrupting their own businesses based on the realization and maybe the pandemic has helped them that they could do it more efficiently, more effectively? And by almost a ripple effect? It's affecting the market?

Shammah Banerjee 18:24
Yeah, that's a really interesting question. And I think what, what we're doing, I don't know if it's gonna answer your question or sidestepping? Yeah, no, it's it's a really interesting point. But what we are seeing is I think more organizations are hiring someone to be a chief disrupter to or the chief disruption officer or something like that. So which is really interesting, because it's saying, you know, we as an organization want to be disrupted from the inside out. And I think that's, that's a really, that's an interesting thing. And it would be maybe that's maybe that's the next study we can do is actually organizations with them versus without, and what's the difference? How is that impacting? But I can't remember your question, what was it?

Ryan Purvis 19:12
So what I was asking is, is that disruption? Or that that disruptive label? Does an organization disrupt themselves first, and by ripple effect affect the market? So they realize they can do the bit of a better more effectively internally by disrupting themselves and that comes to the market? Or are they just going out to disrupt the market but on purpose, and by the by that by that they have to pull themselves into disrupted state?

Shammah Banerjee 19:40
Yeah. Yeah, probably a bit of both. I mean, I think it comes back to competition. And how do you meet Colleen? Well, this is probably more on the b2c side, but how do you make that customer experience that customer journey as seamless as effective as possible? And there Make the customer's choice really easy to just choose you. So I think it's probably a bit of a bit of both just in terms of investing in that side of things disrupting in that in the customer journey, and the product that you're offering and all of that. But at the same time, that's naturally going to change how the markets working, because then if you suddenly have all of that market share based on based on that change, what's that going to do to your competitors?

Ryan Purvis 20:27
Yeah, I find it I'm almost seeing it as disruptive is almost a verb, like Google as a verb, to bring around transformation. And I'll be honest, that, you know, I've worked in organizations that that desperately need that disruption, just from an internal point of view, because it's almost like, we've always done it this way mentality becomes the culture of the business. And what we're saying by by having a disruptor label is that, you know, you can start from scratch at any point and forget the history of the business and go, was it what does the future look like? And if that means that 10 applications, and I'm sorry, my background is applications and the product, if it means your gift to sunset, sunset, 10 applications and build a new one, then, and that's the goal, then that's a disruption. And that does mean that you're going to have some unhappy people, and there's some change, and there's some some expectation management. But if I put the business in a better place in 10 years time or five years, or whatever type of families, then that's what that's almost okay. It's and it's, and it's almost a switch away from this stock price driven mentality that CEOs bringing when they're measured by the quarter, two, almost the way the Japanese run a business, which is 100 year vision, and you're trying to gear up for that, and you can just do a lot faster with technology.

Shammah Banerjee 21:49
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that that kind of quarterly view versus 100 year view? That's, that's an interesting one. We had a conversation with our board about what timeline should we be looking at when we're thinking long term. And the conversation basically, when even five years is really is a really long time, because think about how much everything can change in that time. So I think the definition of long term thinking as I think is has squeezed and really minimized based on how much everything is changing how fast everything is changing at the moment, because, you know, we can make a plan for 2028. Now, as as a business, and by 2028, things may look completely different. And our plan becomes irrelevant. So yeah, an interesting one.

Ryan Purvis 22:40
Yeah, yeah. So that's that long term view versus short term view, I think it's good to have, like a look at the wanting to put a base on the Moon, I think the goal is 2030. Now, it's almost it's almost everyone knows 2030 is never gonna happen. But unless you put a date down, no one's gonna work towards anything. And it still comes down to as much as you're never far off goal. And you know, in this case, excuse the pilots a moonshot, you still have to have a day, you know, broken it down to a daily view, what are you what are you working to order from a golf party on a daily basis, that gets you to 2030 Because if it's too far away, and people say, we've got plenty of time, don't stress about it. But you got to bring it all the way back down to what every week going to deliver something every day to deliver something that feeds towards that goal. There was a question here that I wanted to when you were talking about technology being involved. You, you asked a question around digital capability, and how did that link to recovery? And you and you kind of mentioned that technology was important, but I thought the number of people that agreed with it was quite interesting to talk a little bit about that.

Shammah Banerjee 23:50
Yeah, sure. So like I mentioned before, we've we've seen that shift up the the digital maturity spectrum. So more organizations never before saying digital is running, running another piece of research in at the moment, actually. And we are still seeing more and more people saying digital is in our DNA versus we don't have a digital strategy. No one doesn't have a digital strategy anymore. And yeah, if we, if we look at the impact that has had on how organizations have been able to respond to the impacts of COVID, we saw 88% of respondents in the survey, Agree or strongly agree with the statement that it maturity and digital capability are directly linked to how quickly my organization was able to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. So that that's pretty huge. The other 12% is kind of that between disagree, strongly disagree or don't know. So it's really quite minimal the amount of people that disagreed with that statement.

Ryan Purvis 24:50
Yeah, and I think the the conclusion I would draw from that is, is not that everyone was able to respond well to the pandemic But they had. So what I'm wondering about that is it's organizations that Litchi with a flick of a switch, you know, everyone works from home. The problem, you know, my organization was one of those, there were some organizations that were able to do it, but they needed time. And that time, could it be two weeks, a month, whatever it is. But there were some organizations that were completely caught blindsided had no planning for this kind of scenario. And we're literally running to the shops, you know, your your PC warehouse or whatever it is buying laptops with any level of a gear to get the workforce working again. And I'm hoping that the the one of the things that's positive out of this is that organizations have realized that these sort of plans need to be thought of, but also that they need to design for mobile first, when they bring in, you know, solutions to make users work better.

Shammah Banerjee 25:51
Yeah, absolutely. One of our one of our commentators on the report was talking about exactly that, that the need for mobile first in InDesign, but also, it's becoming more of accepted how crucial it is to the business as a whole, which sounds obvious. But actually, with everything that's happened in the last 18 months, it's it's become an absolute priority for business leaders. I think digital has really shut up kind of CEO agendas. And yeah, become become a lot more important. But yeah, completely. I think it's an interesting point you raised around. It doesn't that doesn't necessarily mean they're responding quickly. That's fast as they're able to respond to.

Ryan Purvis 26:36
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So move to your next question, which is that what is the forecast for recovery?

Shammah Banerjee 26:43
Yeah, so we asked, we asked our respondents in the survey, when do they consider of business recovery to be happening. And this was this was an interesting one, because we actually asked that back in, when was it kind of December, December 2020. Just around when, when they thought that was going to be happening, and organizations that that recovery would take this is back in December 2020. They predicted that recovery would take two to three years from that point. So suggesting we'd be willing to 2023 before we even started any business recovery. But actually, when organizations took this survey in September 2021, a lot a lot had obviously changed in that nine months, because the majority of respondents said that business recovery to pre COVID levels would happen within the next six to 12 months. And 18% of respondents said that their organization had already returned to pre COVID levels. So that again, I think, is just just demonstrating that how much has changed within within that time frame. And attitudes to recovery have changed quite a lot as well, which is in an encouraging way. But when we split this by disruptors and defenders, so again, that that kind of attitude towards change, and that mindset, we had a quarter of disruptors say that their business had already returned to great pre COVID levels, but half of reactive defenders still expected to see recovery in the next six to 12 months or the next one to three years. So again, that timeframe is massively kind of squished or extended, depending on that disruptive mindset.

Ryan Purvis 28:23
And I think it's interesting that there was an increase in revenue. Considering that there was a, in some senses a break in the old world were working, which is, you know, if people aren't in the office, they're not working. Because I almost believed that that increase in revenue was a safe or one on office space. That also been more productive, and more and more relaxed, in a sense, because people would, you know, I mean, I always found it fascinating when I moved to the UK to commute five, you know, three hours a day, to go sit in an office, we spent the whole day on the phone, which you could have easily done at home. So I think that, you know, happy employees end up with happier customers. And I think maybe that's something I draw from from that, that increase in revenue. What was the sort of cultural challenges for the leadership, especially for business leaders?

Shammah Banerjee 29:16
Yeah, so one thing, which really came out strongly is yeah, like you say, the cultural side, the people side of what business leaders lead to need to look at now. So we asked organizations, what is the biggest challenge that you're facing when you're dealing with the impacts of the pandemic? And the number one thing was leadership and culture? And then we asked respondents what is it going to take for organization to grow from now, and again, it was hiring more talent was number one, followed by strong leadership. So I think there is a pretty strong consensus that leadership needs to step up. What that means. I think I'm not the person to answer that but It's it's definitely a big challenge for organizations. And it's it's not new, I think there's one thing that I wanted to point out is it's not new, coming out of the pandemic, in our 2020 Digital Trends Report, which you can find on our website, culture was identified as the number one reason why digital projects failed in in that year. So that kind of poor leadership, unclear objectives, all of all of those leadership, cultural issues are repeat challenges that we're facing. But now that now that we really need strong leadership and time of intense change, that has just been amplified and intensified as an issue.

Ryan Purvis 30:40
Yeah, it's interesting, because if you think about, you mentioned people and hiring, that ability to hire someone now, regardless of their geographic location, and probably more more related to what the what the timezone capability is, opens up, opens up the skills pool so much more. And it also kind of points to, you know, again, old, old world issues with, you know, for example, employment tax, because you have companies that have to worry about the highest someone in, say, Portugal, but they UK based, they have to worry about the Portuguese tax considerations. And maybe needs to be simplified. In the sort of section you had to think around the biggest chain challenges facing organizations now that they're coming out of COVID. And you mentioned the people. But you mentioned some other stuff here on business continuity and resilience. Yeah. Do you want to talk me through the resume piece? Cuz I think this is quite interesting.

Shammah Banerjee 31:41
Yeah, absolutely. So the resilience, resilience piece is, is interesting, because I think resilience has changed quite a lot in terms of how how we're looking at it. Resilience now is absolutely something that all organizations need to have, if they're going to survive these changing times. Resilience before was probably had less of an urgency on it. So what we're kind of seeing this in three parts. The first is that operational resilience is being prioritized. So obviously, we've got, you know, the global supply chain crisis rumbling on at the moment, and operational resilience is being more invested in so we had 72% of respondents say that they are investing in business operations, that's the supply chain logistics it to make them more agile and resilient as a result of COVID-19. So that's kind of the first major piece of, of resilience as we're seeing it now. The second is around open mindedness towards experimentation, new opportunities that we've kind of been discussing already. So we had 70% of respondents agree that the impacts of the pandemic created new products and revenue opportunities in their sector. So I think there's probably linking back to that digital response as well. Those new product and revenue opportunities if, if an organization is agile enough, digitally mature enough to seize those, then happy days as Scott was going, going straight away to market. But in terms of experimentation, as well, we had 68% of organizations agree that they are more willing to experiment now than we were two years ago. Sorry, I don't if you can hear that. So and I live on a very busy road. So yeah, we're seeing both those product opportunities, but also the willingness to seize those opportunities. Absolutely increase. So that's kind of the second major thing. And then the final thing is that business continuity plan. So 64% of respondents said that they had a business continuity plan before March 2020. In comparison, 78%, who said they have one now. And interestingly, it's actually retail and leisure that that industry that was kind of most impacted by by COVID-19, according to our according to our research, that saying that they don't really actually have a plan in place for business continuity, they haven't developed it yet. They don't know they're not sure where to go with it. So there is definite kind of imperatives for business leaders now I think in those in those different areas of operational resilience, open mindedness towards experimentation and business continuity plans, to to address those and see and see how they can kind of transform their business.

Ryan Purvis 34:30
Yeah, I wonder maybe that the hotel and leisure or travel niche is it's such a interconnected set of service providers that that to have, you know, the pockets of business continuity that you can do. And then there's as part of that, you can't have a business continuity plan for, for example, a waiter, a waiter called work in a restaurant and the restaurants closed. This is this is nothing more they could do there. But if the rest Ron has a contingency plan that says if we're not going to serve people in the restaurant, then we're going to do takeaways. And the waiters become delivery drivers in digital continuity plan. So I guess it just comes down to, you know, on a case by case basis. Right. So the last question that you had here for us what what were the major lessons learned from the last 18 months for respondents?

Shammah Banerjee 35:22
Yeah, so this is broken down into kind of major areas. I think the leadership and people area we've we've just talked about. But the the big lessons, I think that that came out from what what response planning has been basically just ask them, What is the biggest lesson you've learned, learned from the last 18 months and just gave them an open text box to tell us and it was interesting to see see how these kind of naturally grouped. So the first big one is changing the catalyst. So we were talking about this at the very beginning of this of this conversation, just around how the necessity to actually make to get things happening fast, that just made things happen for so there isn't, there isn't really anything else to it, it just had to happen. So it did happen. So that sense of people finding solutions when they when they have to, because there's no other option. But also, we had one respondent say that COVID shone a light on our operational and legacy failings, so really, really getting realizations to look, look at where they are struggling and address those areas. So that was that was kind of the big, the first major learning. And the second is just around that digital credibility piece that we've been talking about. So there needs to be dynamically digitally dynamic, being a part of organization's DNA, it needs to become part of that. And also the importance of investing in all aspects of digital capability. And that's including the education of users. So I think there's the people piece coming in there as well, in terms of making sure that yes, you can put all this tech in front of your, your workforce, but are they actually going to be able to use it? Are they going to trust it? Are they gonna? Is it is it going to be worth the investment. So that side of things as well came through as a big, big learning, business resilience piece was another was another area. And we had some really interesting things come through here where respondents were saying, we're not too old to learn new things, we need to react faster, we've learned we need to keep fixed costs to a minimum. So just general things around building that resilience. And then we have leadership and people which I think we've already talked about, but really looking after people keeping a focus on them, they're our best asset. And then finally, the customer focus. So coming back to that digital, that digital shift. We had one respondent say customer centricity does not mean being sat in front of your customer. So I think that's that's an interesting way of looking at it. Because when people were taken away from sitting in front of their customer, I think there was obviously that was like panic, cuz that was a major change. But as soon as that becomes your mindset of customer centricity is about just keeping them at the center of whatever you're doing, whether that's being literally in front of them or not. And I think that that changes the game. So those were our our major lessons changed as a catalyst, digital credibility, the importance of that business resilience, building that focus on leadership and people and customer focus.

Ryan Purvis 38:26
Brilliant. I find it heartwarming, I guess, that these are the five things came out of because this is really, for me what every business should be about, and the order and the order that you've given it, I wouldn't say is the order necessarily that that a business has to apply it. But I think it's important things that that should always be top of mind for any business.

Shammah Banerjee 38:51
Yeah, absolutely. I should caveat that with I sent those in no particular order. So there wasn't there wasn't necessarily a lot more on on the first but um, yeah, absolutely. I think those are the lessons that that business leaders need to take forward. Ready? Yeah,

Ryan Purvis 39:08
definitely. Great stuff. I think this has been fantastic. So I think would be good to you to publish the results from your your survey on your website to get to get a link for that. And any other links that you think we should have?

Shammah Banerjee 39:22
Well, you can find I'll absolutely share that kind of link to download the report. And please do have a look at that. There's there's everything that we've been talking about. It goes into more detail in the report. So hopefully that's a helpful resource. But we are also launching our next summit chief disrupt live which is going to be happening in May of next year, which builds on builds on all of these different lessons learn areas, especially the digital capability piece that we will be launching in a couple of weeks. So that's the next big thing to look out from us is our Yeah, the state of recovery report and also The launch of Chief disrupter live,

Ryan Purvis 40:02
super. And if people want to get hold of you what's the best way?

Shammah Banerjee 40:06
They want to get hold of me? The best way is to email me they can email editorial at Nimbus, That's Nimbus. Like the cloud and 90 is spelt out not, not nine, zero spelled out as a word. So editorial in Nimbus Or you can connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a message, always happy to chat to new people learning, learn about what people are doing in that industry. So please do get in touch.

Ryan Purvis 40:33
Super. Well, thanks so much for being on the podcast and I appreciate all your inflation.

Shammah Banerjee 40:37
Now, thank you so much for it. It's been a really interesting discussion. So thank you for having me.

Ryan Purvis 40:46
Thank you for listening today's episode, and the big news producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. For your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW W podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

Shammah BanerjeeProfile Photo

Shammah Banerjee

Senior Editor | Writer | Idea Collector | Tech & Culture

As Senior Editor at Nimbus Ninety, Shammah leads the Editorial team to produce research and content that explores the disruptive trends impacting how businesses work. Nimbus Ninety is the independent community for disruptive business and technology leaders. It exists to connect innovators, changemakers and disruptors from all sectors to share their experience of disruption and move forwards together. You can download the State of Recovery Report here: