5 MINS READ
The pursuit of excellence
We can’t tackle the biggest problems faced by business and society if we are not motivated, passionate, and driven to achieve excellence. The same is true in sports. Resilience and determination are key to this.
Take British diver Tom Daley, who competed at his first Olympics in 2008, aged only 14. It was only in his fourth Olympic Games, in Tokyo in 2020, that Daley won his first gold medal, thanks to his drive and ambition to succeed.
Getting to the top in your sport is often a year-long marathon rather than a sprint. The same applies to our journey toward sustainable business practices.
Innovation and growth mindset parallels
Sports people are among the best examples of the ‘growth mindset’. Carol S. Dweck of Stanford University, who coined the term, points to how basketballer Michael Jordan, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee and golfer Tiger Woods constantly stretched themselves to evolve, better themselves and grow. Believing in yourself and knowing you can achieve your goals will boost your willingness to train and improve performance and increase growth potential.
In business, similarly, we cannot rest on our laurels. As the following examples show, environmental business strategies are one area where this is most pressing right now.
At the Dutch Open golf course, Bernardus used birdhouses to attract local birds to provide natural pest control instead of using chemicals to fight off pests. At Jaguar TCS racing, innovations from the race circuit regularly make their way into road cars, benefitting sustainable urban mobility.
Using marginal gains to drive success
In sports as well as in business, innovation is often incremental.
Sir Dave Brailsford, the former performance director of British Cycling, introduced the idea that making a 1% improvement in several small areas could lead to much larger cumulative effects. Dedication to “sweating the small stuff”, you might say, led to 16 gold medals in two Olympics and seven Tour de France wins in eight years.
Businesses can apply the same lesson regarding sustainable business strategies: small changes add up. We increasingly see a departure from the traditional, linear “design-build-test” project lifecycle, where ‘heavy lifting’ is the norm, to an incremental and highly collaborative process that evolves over time.
Takeda’s Digital Innovation Factory is an excellent example of that. TCS worked with the Japanese pharmaceutical company to create a digital innovation hub that works with the entire organisation. Each project is broken down into small, iterative steps based on a standardised framework and processes. Early prototyping ensures that future end users get to trial and shape products from their inception, ensuring that their needs drive development.