When driving, an intersection is a place to be careful. As we cross intersections we are told to stick to our lane, obey traffic signals, and be wary of other drivers. But intersections in other forms — such as industry intersections — can create opportunities.
Our work gives us a window into several sectors, and we often find ourselves applying what we’ve learned from one industry to an entirely different industry. In our work and in the news, we’ve noticed three recent examples of organizations reaching beyond their purview to create opportunities:
1) Partnering with competitors.
We were at a retreat recently with CEOs who represent a sector that is struggling to grow amid competition from e-commerce and the gig economy. A few of these leaders acknowledged that they think of other companies within the industry as competitors, but the conversation encouraged them to look beyond their industry to fully identify the threats and opportunities. Several concluded that they could use industry intersections to join forces and share distribution mechanisms to become more efficient. In this case, looking to other industries encouraged companies within an industry to become partners for growth.
2) Creating stronger links.
It is intuitive that one’s health is linked to one’s wealth, and vise-versa. There is a growing body of evidence about the strength of the connection between health and wealth. We have data from our MAP Study that explores these links, including details on the interaction between health and retirement that affects Americans’ feelings about their ability to retire.
Several of our clients in both the financial services and the health care industries are continuing to explore the opportunities that arise from these vital connections.
The other element we often see is the role of technology in how individuals monitor their finances and personal health. Bank apps help us stay on top of our transaction accounts, and apps like Acorns automate good financial behavior in the form of saving. The Fitbit is a well-known personal fitness tracker—and one reason for some of the health information overload that many Americans are experiencing today.
3) The intersection of 3 wildly different companies.
It was hard to miss the January 30 announcement that three completely different, and tremendously powerful, organizations are coming together to offer their employees a new healthcare solution. The details have yet to be figured out, but this portends an enormous shift in the way employers offer benefits, and in how healthcare will be managed by providers, insurers, employers and consumers. As we think about societal problems, health and planning for retirement are two of the biggest issues we have. It’s fascinating to see major players working on solutions.
It’s natural to become focused on moving forward in one’s position, company and industry, but new opportunities can accelerate when we keep a look out for what is crossing our path — we might be able to put natural industry intersections to use.