Embracing Connectedness and Unpredictability
Republished from PYMNTS.com eBook: A Look Forward. What Executives Wish for America And the World in 2021 – Dec. 2020
My foremost wish for the world as we approach 2021 would be a heightened realization for how truly interconnected we all are, and a greater appreciation for unpredictability and the wisdom of preparing – not just now while the loss is fresh in our minds, but also as a way of carrying ourselves moving forward.
As far as payments are concerned, I think the world witnessed the case for why they need to be electronic and digital, and why the systems on which they rest need to be more agile and better prepared for the unpredictable.
The fact is that the future of payments is not predictable, and the events of 2020 may well be an indication of how we ought to be planning for the future. I‘m reminded of how logical a choice insurance is after a disaster, and how easy it is to see as an added expense before one occurs.
In my own case, one might say I‘ve taken unpredictability as a given. “Relentless preparedness,” as a colleague put it, has served our company well. Dealing with a lot of abstraction and contemplating a lot of contingencies is not easy. It takes much time and overhead to build agility and reliability into systems, but it’s encouraging to know that embracing such an approach and making it part of our foundational organizational and technical structure made a difference in people’s lives this year.
This spring, when our client PayActiv needed to quickly enable virtual cards and digital provisioning as a result of the pandemic, it was fortunate that they were able to satisfy that urgent need and make the adaptation on the same platform they were already using. The ability to “conceive and configure” – to look within their own context and choose the right way forward – helped see them through an unforeseen event, and through nature’s unpredictability.
As part of our collective planning for 2021, perhaps we ought to give thought to how our organizations think about technology and, in particular, agility. You see, timelines are not really of our choosing. Neither will we get to choose the next world-altering event.
My wish today is that our people and organizations part with false isolationist ideas and that we come to see unpredictability as a norm that we all prepare for to the best of our abilities and to our collective benefit.