Mobility covers many facets of life. It could describe cargo transportation or people bussing to and from work. What about displacing people to other areas or countries to avoid natural/political problems? We could also talk about the propensity of people to live and work in many countries – true global citizens.
Mobility for youth today no longer involves a skateboard. That was quickly forgotten as the smartphone arrived. You can sit on a chair, never moving, play games, check stuff and places, buy stuff, chat to buddies, post photos on-line, etc. Luckily, armed with fingertip info, the world shrinks – active minds are expanded and we get the answers we need when we need, on a phone. Yes, this is IT mobility.
For business, mobile-IT-y is a double-edged sword. Speeding our communication, response times, checking info, getting news and access to our own business systems with financial logistics and HR insights. Then there’s email, WhatsApp, Instagram and your own ERP system requests to approve purchases, allow leave and accept meetings hounding us. Hide no more – and auto replies beaming “sorry I’ll have limited email access ….” just don’t cut it anymore. Unless you’re in a Geneva fallout bunker or on Mars, you’ve got access to Wi-Fi or your personal data just like me. So, what are you telling me? – I don’t matter – great if I’m a wealthy potential customer!
Luck and mobility took me to Habana, Cuba recently to a Business Innovation Conference. Cuba is communist and restrictive, well sort of … people earn nothing, well yes, but… everyone wants to leave, well maybe some but it’s complex … no one is happy, no it’s the opposite. Sit down sip your beer or mojito, draw on a fat cigar and look around. My eyes were opened and as John Lennon sang – my mind could see. After one day of Cuban interaction you understand Bob Marley’s “some people are so poor all they have is money.”
So, what did my mind see?
Smiling people delivering real customer service. Extra mile? No, they go way beyond to deliver on your expectation, not simply what’s easy for them. And if one guy can’t deliver, sit down have a coffee – ground on site, no packaged-goods and logistics costs here – while your man finds a friend or neighbour who can. And when they do, everyone is smiling.
The enabling IT here is a mobile phone – linking business networks to respond at the time of need not to make a promise but to solve and deliver.
The state funds great education and health for Cubans – a strong foundation. Today Cuba has more doctors per person than US or UK. Add a business environment chronically lacking funds for resources, seasoned by incredible positive thinking and you get naturally entrepreneurial people.
Habana, a clean city which, like its people, makes the most of what it has and makes it last. Use it and renew it, repurpose and modernize affordably, preserve buildings, cars and equipment until there’s enough time and money to fix properly. After work, another cigar, a beer and the music of struggle – yes, but paving the future path still smiling – fix it, keep it, share it, grow it sustainably.
This blog started off about mobility – it is. Imagine this attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, care and sharing seeded with the capital it needs to drive sensible transformation. Shifting thinking is perhaps the mobility we need. So, let’s do it?