The retail industry now requires a strong adaptive practice to cope with the change demanded by consumers.  These adaptive requirements or practices are a natural addition to collaborative practices and a direct outcome of collaboration practices. The growth and affect of the millennial generation on retail along with the growth of social commerce that combines shopping and purchasing into a virtual marketplace that crosses channels is now highlighting the necessity of adaptive collaboration practices.  These practices cross over consumers, extended supply chain partners, retailers and social networks to create a cohesive adaptive collaborative network that senses and responds to the discontinuous change driven into the retail marketplace.


Adaptive collaboration describes a method to sense and respond to the discontinuous change being driven by the millennial generation growth and impact in the marketplace.  I think of adaptive collaboration as a type of continuous improvement process that supports and encourages collaboration across the retail extended supply chain.  This is also requires and supports a major cultural shift for the large legacy retailers to engage and collaborate with all partners across the supply chain with the objective of adapting and growing collaboration across the entire network.  This extended adaptive collaborative network provides and supports the process to engage with partners to understand and implement incremental improvements to support the changing demands of the consumers. 


Consumer demands combined with growing and improving technology capabilities has created a marketplace that is changing in manners that defy a long term strategic program.  This is the key challenge for legacy retailers.  These retailers must embrace an adaptive collaboration strategy and implement the processes that sense the changes and allow the retailers to respond with incremental change to incorporate new tools and technology quickly and effectively.  In addition to the change to embrace the adaptive collaboration culture these retailers must also implement a flexible and robust infrastructure that can support a culture of incremental change.  This is no small feat and I think that retailers are now struggling under the pressure of the changing demands that have come to a head and are impacting the foundation of the large legacy retailer.


Anyone can see the impact on the retail marketplace of the growth of the millennial generation from the increase in online sales to the drop in shopping center traffic to the lack of consumer loyalty to these retailers to the impact of the economy and resulting changing consumer lifestyles.  In hindsight this is easy to recognize and going forward we do not have the luxury to look to the past to analyze future trends.  In this new reality retailers must embrace the adaptive collaboration culture in order to allow them to sense and then most importantly quickly respond with incremental change.  They can no longer afford to plan, develop and implement large change because the risk is too great that the market direction will change before their large change program.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?