This blog post was published 25 March 2020, based on information available at that time.

Last week, I touched on how businesses are rapidly responding to changing patterns of demand through simplifying and collaborating with suppliers. Businesses are looking to quickly repurpose their assets and skills to maintain revenues and build up cash. But now more than ever, they are also seeking to build up social equity by supporting society through the crisis period.

In stable times, organisations focus on refining client propositions and client outcomes to a fine polish. They focus on being the best at what they do – a function of their product or service and their marketing and market competitiveness. However, in the last few weeks, businesses have been looking more carefully at the inherent value of their resources and assets: 

  • the skills their employees possess that may be especially useful;
  • the efficient supply chains that secure supply; and 
  • the infrastructure that allows them to access clients and continue to serve.

Business Polymaths

Hence, gin distilleries are turning their hands to hand sanitiser production. Engineering giants are turning their might to ventilator production and my local brewery is leveraging its systems and entrepreneurialism to home deliver beer and now general groceries. It goes to show that organisations with assets, infrastructure and expertise can flex very quickly, if needed and committed. In ‘normal’ times, this business agility is too often hidden.

Restaurant and food wholesale clients with whom we work are cutting costs fast, but we’re exploring how their assets, their skills and their passion could be repurposed to continue to generate revenue. I’d be interested to see what airline catering firms are doing – they would seem ideally placed to serve the elderly in their homes – perhaps with a delivery partner. I also wonder about sport. Trapped at home with no sport on the telly is a bitter irony for many when made to self-isolate. But, given the right safeguards and permissions, is there a way for Federer to play Djokovic in a multi-surface series, supported by a virtual crowd? Or for Tiger Woods to go head-to-head with Rory McIlroy without their support teams and throngs of spectators?

We need to repurpose. We need to reformat.


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