For my kids, the timing couldn’t have been better. Day one of our summer vacation—no school, no camp, no chores—and Pokémon Go was launched. They were free to wander the streets, running from PokéStop to PokéStop.
Fast forward a few weeks, and we’re back at home. Though the initial craze has subsided a bit for our kids, animated family conversations include multiple Pokémon innuendos, along with phrases including baffling words such as Squirtle, Raichu, and Gyarados. My husband and I try to follow along, but ultimately give up. “It’s like they’ve mastered an entirely new language in two weeks,” I say to my husband. And I thought, wow—this is how quickly learning and innovation can happen.
This got me to thinking. I asked my 13-year-old son what it is about Pokémon Go that is so intriguing and irresistible. He answered without hesitation: “It takes a fun game that I already like and makes it so I can interact with it. It’s easy to make it part of my life and share with others.”
So, interaction, ease of use, and shareability. Can those three basic, age-old elements take a good idea—whether a new game, a company, or a way of tackling a challenge—and reinvent it to deliver the server-crashing success of Pokémon Go, in so short a period of time?
While it’s certainly not that simple, perhaps there’s more than a nugget of truth in that age-old aphorism, “Get back to the basics,” when it comes to solving the sustainability challenges facing global business today. I love the idea of looking back in order to leap forward, and it’s a theme that I hope will be explored during a number of sessions at the BSR Conference 2016, in the track “Bold Reinvention.”
Whether we’re addressing climate change, human rights, inclusive growth, women’s empowerment, or supply chain innovation, we can learn from the successes of the past—and the basics—to reinvent our future.
- In the session “Beyond ‘Going Viral’: Breakthrough Communications,” we’ll explore how to tap into the power of an audience’s emotion, urgency, and engagement to encourage action and change.
- During “Can Incumbents Reinvent Themselves for Truly Sustainable Outcomes,” we’ll look at how companies that have conducted business the same way for many years can reinvent themselves by evoking their history and heritage while mapping a new path forward.
- With “Is It Time for a Radical Reinvention of Retail,” we’ll take a sharper look at one specific sector to see how our digital, globalized reality is forcing a “brave new world” upon many companies in the retail space.
- In “Reinventing Products: How to Influence Designers,” we’ll discuss how the very first steps of product design can transform entire systems, if approached with a sustainability lens.
- And finally, with “We Are All Tech Companies Now: Tech Sustainability Issues Across Sectors,” we’ll explore perhaps the most transformative business trend of all—how companies are integrating technology into the core of their products and services, and addressing the many challenges that this new reality presents.
These meaty topics suggest that the need for reinvention in today’s global economy is certainly more than fun and games. It’s a reality—and not just a virtual one—that businesses need to address. We hope you’ll join us New York to share your take on reinvention and sustainability, while learning from others through fun, engagement, and interactivity, Pokémon Go style.
The "Bold Reinvention" track at the BSR Conference 2016 is sponsored by Target.