“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

As Joel Barker, the futurist, would say: “When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero – your past success guarantees nothing.”

Two paradigm shifts have recently changed the world – an increased focus and reliance on data and digital marketing, and the economic impact of COVID-19.

Marketing once consisted of public relations and advertising. Today, data and digital marketing continue to have a profound effect on business communications. There has been increased audio-visual messaging as well as the increased speed and reduced cost required to achieve consumer satisfaction. Digital marketing budgets have grown and are expected to dominate marketing budgets in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is with us, without an end in sight. It has left a trail of devastated economies around the world with business closures, job losses, decreased wealth, poverty, a drastically reduced tourism industry, diminished physical social interaction, and cabin fever syndrome.

Our thought leaders have sharpened their skills along the discovery spectrum (data – information – knowledge – understanding – insight – wisdom) by exposing themselves to international education, community interaction, global travel, diverse experience, smart partnerships, successful relationships, and leveraging their contacts. They must now come to the plate and engage in disruptive innovation change management strategies to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the data and digital marketing paradigm shifts, and address the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 paradigm shift.

Over the last 25 years, the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management has promoted the 10 tenets of the Smart Partnership Philosophy which embody: a shared vision, cultural diversity, a code of ethics, longevity, networking, transparency, equity, fair play, trust and values while promoting the concepts of “prosper thy neighbour” and “win-win”.

Also, a cricketing analogy might be appropriate here.

A good batting partnership, where the two batsmen work together to support each other, completely changes the momentum of the game. If there is more than one good partnership, it enhances the team’s chances of winning the match.

Similarly, in a business partnership, where the partners work together to support each other, it completely changes the rate of momentum of the growth of the business. If there is more than one successful business partnership, then it enhances the sustainability of the business.

All states are encouraged to embrace local public-private partnerships to mobilize resources in harmony towards the common good. Emerging states, with limited sources, should pursue global partnerships to redress any shortfall which may exist. Local and global smart partnerships allow us to seamlessly assemble the best resource mix which add value to our disruptive innovation strategies as we address the two paradigm shifts.

The resource mix should consist of global and national smart partnerships, positive visionary leadership, diligent patient management teams and passionate persevering workforces, innovative digital technology, and appropriate finance.

The leaders in a global partnership may sometimes come from diverse political, cultural, religious, economic, and social environments. If the objective is to have a sustainable partnership in the new dispensation, partnerships will only be successful if there is a mutually agreeable return on investment in each partner’s domestic environment.

Let us work towards open dialogue in search of adding value through partnerships by negotiating a “prosper thy neighbour” and “win-win” sustainable business solution.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is basilgf@marketplaceexcellence.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com/basil-springer-column/ and on www.facebook.com/basilgf).