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News@Ivey · Dawn Milne

To survive a crisis, firms need a new way of thinking, says Bansal

Jul 17, 2020

Business planning

The key to business success in an age of COVID-19 isn’t just about dealing with the crisis at hand, but creating an effective post-pandemic organization.

Ivey Professor Tima Bansal says it’s easy to get caught up in the issues in the here and now, but today’s world requires businesses to build dynamic capabilities where they take a long-term approach and consider their role in the bigger system.

“I’m not saying that firms should forget what is in front of them … but there is a tendency to squeeze out the long term in order to look at the short term,” said Bansal, who founded Ivey’s Innovation Learning Lab and leads The Ivey Academy’s program on Dynamic Design for an Interconnected World. “You need to go where things will be, not where they are.”

Understanding dynamic systems

As part of The Ivey Academy’s ongoing webinar series, Bansal led a session that discussed how businesses can build resiliency through a systems dynamic approach, which involves understanding their connections to others and how things change over time.

“Smart people want to work for companies that are responding to what's going on in the world … that can shape the system, rather than just respond to the system. We all know we want to work for a company that is inspirational,” she said.

She likened it to how successful athletes can see the whole field of play, not just the competitors in front of them.

“It’s this ability to zoom in to what you’re doing and zoom out again,” she said. “It’s not about learning a new toolkit. It’s a new way of thinking.”

Bansal also discussed how the Innovation Learning Lab, a consortium of 19 innovation leaders from diverse sectors, is looking at ways to apply a systems perspective to business.

“It’s a Made-in-Canada approach to innovation and it will build the innovation economy here,” she said.