The Y Shaped Re-invention

The pandemic has had dramatic impacts to companies all over the world. While politicians are pushing for a V-shaped recovery to the economy. Most CEOs recognise that is totally beyond their control, instead they need to lead a Y shaped re-invention of their business.

This is the premise put forward by Navi Radjou in Forbes magazine. With so many companies needing to reinvent or die he explains visionary companies are changing WHAT they do.

What is a Y shaped re-invention

Y shaped reinvention

This change challenges three core aspects to the company

  • HOW – The perspective of how the company sees the world
  • WHY – The organisation’s purpose, its underlying reason for being.
  • WHO – Company values that are the basis of the corporate identity.

This way of considering a firms impacts on society and the environment builds a significantly stronger loyalty with society and employees.

A growing number of firms have taken the concept of sustainability (or carbon neutrality) as a first step in a societal commitment. Pioneering companies such as Patagonia and General Mills are going much further. These and other  regenerative businesses seek to “do more good” their aim is to deepen the positive impact on society and the environment.

A recent survey found that 80% of US consumers find the term ‘sustainable’ too passive and are looking for companies to commit to regeneration.

Examples in action

  • Siemens – has committed to reinventing the business-to-business (B2B) firm as a business-to-society (B2S) company
  • Danone – is driving its ‘One Planet, One Health’ holistic approach to its farmers and suppliers, its customers and more broadly to the environment.
  • Eileen Fisher – The clothing brand recognised that too much of that industry’s product ended up as land waste. In response they pioneer slow fashion, which introduces fewer and more durable clothes.

Each of these companies are examples of moving towards the quadruple bottom line. Where company measures its contribution to the environment, human rights, employee wellbeing, and financial performance.

Key Takeaways

  • The Y shaped re-invention connects the firm with goals that deeply resonate with employees, customers and the community.
  • When a firm builds this loyalty it sets the potential for a durable future in the post pandemic world.
A DIGEST from Forbes
CEOs: Forget V-Shaped Recovery. Lead Y-Shaped Re-invention To Be Better
By Navi Radjou
Published: 26th November 2020

also MIT Sloan Management Review
The Rising Frugal Economy
By Navi Radjou
Published: 6th August 2020


Navi Radjou is an innovation and leadership advisor to Global Fortune 500 companies.  A regular contributor to HBR, MIT and Sloane Management Review. He is a TED speaker and co-author of Frugal Innovation. 

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