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Einstein’s Theory of Relativity & Fashion Business

Fashion Retail

Science is nothing but discovering the laws governing the real world. Einstein is one of the most celebrated and loved genius in the world of science and otherwise.  A close look at some of the scientific discoveries helps us discover some simple realities for life and business too.

In this edit, we make an attempt to see what businesses can learn from the revolutionary Theory of Relativity Einstein published in 1905 and refined till 1916.

What is Theory of Relativity?

In a simplified form, theory of relativity implies,

a) The faster we go the more our clock slows down relative to someone standing still. In short, moving clocks run slow.
b) Distances shrink in the direction of motion
c) Mass increases with speed

The famous equation coming out of special theory of relativity is

E = M * C^2
E = Energy
M = Mass
C = Speed of Light

We will come back to this in a bit…

Old rules of business

The business world has its own formula for success.

Hard work + Dedication = Results

Power = Money + Influence

Big > Small

Fast > Slow

Fancy Degree + Time > Corner Office

The world has changed. The old rules of business no longer hold good as we cope with fist-fighting competition, mind-numbing speed, and exceptional complexity. Add in macro trends such as global markets, digitisation, cloud computing, millennial workforce shifts, mobile technology, and you are wrestling a whole new beast. One that can not be conquered with long-expired formula.

So what is the new formula for progress in the fierce world of business? What is the new formula for progress in business or ourselves?

This is not a scientific equation but inspired by the theory of relativity. It is true that everything is relative in the world and there is no absolute. Leadership is relative, progress is relative and so on.

Taking some clues from Theory of relativity, one could say,

1 – Faster a business moves (in the direction of consumers), younger it stays. That means it stays relevant longer. In its extreme, the business remains timeless.

2 –Distances shrink in the direction of motion, these businesses accomplish goals in less time.

3 – Mass (it is the substance of any business, let’s call it the collective learning of the business) increases with speed. Essentially such businesses have more learning cycles.

We could therefore say,
Energy (Power of a Business) or Progress = Mass (collective learning) * Velocity of Learning

In other words, the success of a business will not be what it already knows, it will be based on how fast it learns. The amount of success the business enjoys is directly linked to the velocity with which the business learns.

Way to sustainable success 

The world is changing at a rate unseen in history, and making smart decisions has become increasingly difficult. To enjoy sustainable success, one needs to adapt; to evolve; to innovate in real time. Unless one plans to spin a wheel of chance, the most effective path to consistently driving results is to become a life long learner, or as a company, a learning organization.

Business today is much like solving a puzzle. You may have a long term vision (the image on the puzzle box), but you still need to figure out where to put the pieces. The faster one learns the faster those pieces fall into place. While cash may have been the fuel of the past, learning is the new energy supply. Fortunately, it is renewable, environmentally friendly, produces no waste and is extremely low priced.

The investment in learning is a rounding error compared to the real cost of not learning fast enough: opportunities squandered, time wasted, competitive losses, customer attrition. To keep the true cost of learning low, learn as fast as possible.

If a business does not prioritise learning,  it will be unknowingly falling behind. Near-term competitive advantages come and go, but the learning organisation wins in the long run. Push the business and teams to learn more and fast.

Experiment, Measure, Refine, Repeat.

Is there a learning enabler for fashion business?

Learning in the right direction, in the direction of consumer needs, is the right learning for any organisation. In a business like fashion, the demand side constantly changes in tune with supply from across the world. The speed at which it changes is humanly not practical to keep track and learn. In order to simplify this, we set fixed boundaries of learning like target brands and inspirational brands and sources. This is just a short-cut to manage our time.

With the availability of cutting edge technologies, fashion intelligence tools can generate near Real-time Analytics about consumer demand and their changing pattern.

These Fashion insights can exponentially increase the learnings in a fashion business, thus bridging the gap between demand and supply faster than ever.

At Stylumia, we fill this need of continuous learning by giving straight from consumer signals. You get the world of fashion on your desktop near real-time curated by consumers.

What it effectively means is to Shift Gears of Progress for your business that too relatively, not once but on an ongoing basis.

Article by Ganesh Subramanian

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