In this Furniture World issue, Ed Tashjian quotes Bob Dylan's iconic 1964 song, urging his Point/Counterpoint partner Bill Napier to notice "The Times They Are a-Changin’”. Lyrics can be found on page 20 of the print edition or on the furninfo.com under Marketing Articles just so you can sing along!
Are we on the cusp of a1964-type radical change or will it be incremental? As Dylan also noted, the answer to that question is "Blowin' in the Wind".
My view is that we are living with trending rather than changing, business conditions, consumer expectations, and concerns. But either way, how might retailers respond?
A quantitative focus is certainly important. The value of installing smart systems using new technology cannot be underestimated. Articles in this FW edition may illuminate. Check out advice on financial tools (by David McMahon), machine learning (by Amitesh Singha), follow-up systems (by David Benbow), managing reviews (by Pam Danziger), engaging customers online (by Scott Hill) and creating engaged employees (by René Gingrich).
At the same time, consider this observation from Bill George, a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School. “Fully rational, near-term measurement analytical tools ground out creativity. People tend to get lost in the numbers" he says, "and lost in the logic." In other words, to sustain creative insight, the wisest leaders reject a tendency toward an exclusive left-brain focus. Without a steady stream of creative ideas, the implication is, it's much harder to become the next trending retailer, inspirational leader, or brilliant branding strategist. George and others suggest a routine of stepping away from the daily grind to create space for innovation and insight. Creative right-brain approaches found in this issue feature designer Kerrie Kelly (by Melody Doering), retailer “The Arrangement” (by Janet Holt-Johnstone) and an article on pizza! (by Gordon Hecht).
As always, your thoughts, comments and creative insights sent to email@example.com are welcome.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.