What if your client was the UK and your brief was Brexit?

Richard Wallace

As Brexit looms, Fearlessly Frank have set ourselves a challenge — how would we have done it? We’re a company that excels in big changes, and managing leaps into the unknown for maximum impact. We believe change is a necessary way to grow and seize new opportunities — but that change has to be done correctly, or else you end up with something of a crisis on your hands.

If Britain itself was one of our clients, how would we be utilising our Fearlessly Frank Thinking process to give the country a lucrative and successful future?

Join us for a series of five blog posts in which we take the UK through our five-step process for successful innovation. If you’re reading this Theresa, maybe grab a pen and paper…

Dig deep

The first stage of our innovation process is Dig Deep. Any innovation project requires research in order to get the best possible results, so we begin by delving into your industry, your consumer base, your competitors, and your product.

This step is absolutely crucial, and one of the main reasons why Brexit appears a little chaotic is because, well, the government simply missed this vital stage altogether.

If you cast your mind back, the whole thing started with a gamble. David Cameron, who called the referendum, was clearly banking on a Remain vote — and when that didn’t happen, things got a bit, well, weird. Because nobody had really planned for a Leave vote beforehand, this imperative research stage was not started until the process was already underway. Big mistake.

It meant Cameron had a strategy for the vote, but no foundation for executing the results.

You wouldn’t attempt to grow your business if you weren’t sure of the marketplace. So why would a country attempt to transform itself without adequate preparations?

How would food supply chains be affected by a Brexit vote? How would we ensure medical supplies and emergency equipment were still available in the event of a No Deal exit? How would the backstop issue work?

The problems we read about every day in the paper were simply not foreseen, because the vote was being implemented on the fly.  Had more research been done beforehand, these questions could have been answered before the point of no return.

Instead, we found ourselves on the back foot at the negotiating table — because you can’t retrofit your strategy. Your strategy needs to grow organically from an objective, and an objective needs to come from a genuine need, whether that’s a customer need or the needs of the electorate.

We’re not taking sides here—a result is a result. The catastrophic issues we’re now facing are not products of the vote itself, but the products of poor (or nonexistent) planning. Had the UK been one of our clients, the Dig Deep phase of our Fearlessly Frank Thinking process would have allowed us to research the possible outcomes and unseen issues in advance, so that a solid plan of action could be drawn up before Article 50 was triggered. This is, quite plainly, the absolute foundation stone of any attempt to put your country — or your business — through a fundamental step-change.

Every business feels that a fundamental change to their future revenue stream — which is exactly what the country has invited by leaving its main trading bloc — is something of a leap of faith, and for that reason, many businesses are unwilling to take the risk in the first place. But in order to innovate and grow, change is necessary. Just because it’s a leap of faith, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to figure out where you’re going to land.

The important thing for a business that wants to innovate is that its evolution has a strategy that is based on solid foundations of research, data-driven insight and strategic forecasting.

A country is no different — any entity, whether its a business or a nation, must Dig Deep, or else it may find itself in a shallow grave.

Join us next week as we move onto phase 2, Dream Big — how could the UK have envisioned a wholesale change to its identity in a way that is consistent with successful innovation?