I will begin that by looking at the whole construct of the essence of business, of course we know that companies exist in the marketplace because there is a friction they want to solve and that friction is the real purpose why companies have to be established so that demand and supply can come into a better equilibrium point for transaction to take place.
As a result of the pandemic a lot of things have changed, many elements in our market systems have been reshaped. But one thing remains critical that every company must constantly continue to see to the mission they have in the marketplace. So what do I mean by the mission, there is a friction in the marketplace that a customer has and that is what the company is established for. For instance, in the city of London, if there is no restaurant you actually have to be knocking at every house for you to buy food. But at the same time you are knocking at that house. That is a propensity that somebody has food and that person can not get you to knock at his or her house. So the best way of fixing that problem is to establish a restaurant, and that becomes the mission of that particular restaurant. So whenever you are hungry, instead of knocking at people’s door you can now go to the restaurant to eat. Covid will not change that cardinal construct in the market system, the companies will continue to pursue their mission and their capacity to execute that mission will remain very very critical for their competitiveness in the market system. So you are going to have the mission and you are also going to know the capabilities. But the interesting thing here is that the capabilities are going to continue to evoke. The capabilities that these companies need are going to continue to shape .
We know that new knowledge systems are now very very critical, the knowledge systems across many nexus especially technology knowledge systems. How are we going to use technology to improve the efficiency in the utilization of the factors of production because at the end of everything, we need to look at how we deliver these services in a highly healthy way, a highly safe way. We also see especially in the emerging markets like Africa that there are pioneering entrepreneurs who are emerging because of the dislocation that the covid has brought to the market system, because the way people look at things, the interaction between market systems, between customers and the market, this things has been reshaped by covid. So new sources of capital will also expect things to be looked at differently. New technology systems are going to happen and we are very confident that human systems and business processes have to continue to shape to capture those opportunities. So looking at business in the post Covid world, we are also looking at the workforce, how we are going to work. You know a lot of people are talking about work from home, a lot of people are talking about digital systems driving the efficiency of everything that we are doing today in the market system. These things are going to be extremely very critical and we have to see how bringing the people, bringing the tools, bringing the processes, how we are going to do them in order to make sure that we are no more just serving consumers that we can take most consumers to customers and then we can take most of ours customers to fan. As we know that businesses thrive when they have fans as customers, businesses thrive when they have moved consumers to customers and customers to fans. At the level of fandom you are now serving these customers beyond the elemetal Nexus of just meeting their needs, but you are also offering them something more than their needs. I think in this covid world the differentiation that you can begin to deliver better services to customers is actually going to be a very huge factor for us to drive competitiveness in the market system. I give you a very good example here, we have seen how companies like Apple become extremely dominant because they built this architecture, they made it possible that anywhere you are you can also be involved in whatever they are doing.
So innovation is going to remain a key element before Covid, within Covid and after Covid. Having a better way of doing something will remain the basis upon which every market system will run. So that as we are moving into this Covid world, the customers are expecting better ways of reaching out to them and offering services to them and companies that can move beyond the need of these customers, companies that can move beyond the expectations of these customers from the level of perception these are companies that would have the capacity to capture more value in the market place and I have said many times that serving the needs of customers cos that’s what companies do but going beyond their needs to the expectations of their perception is going to be very very critical. This is because companies will have to do more because supply becomes largely unbounded as a result of digital technology that makes it possible for us to discover things. So I will give you an example here, let’s say am an environmental Activist and you are giving me electricity from coal, you have met my needs but you have not met my expectations. The day somebody provides electricity through renewables like solar, the person has met my needs and the person has now also met my expectations. But we are expecting that great companies would emerge as the result of not just meeting the expectations of these customers but going to the point of meeting their perceptions. So in this condition,world driving that competitiveness to make sure that you can take these customers to the dimension of perception is going to be extremely very very critical. What do I mean by that? It means that a young man sees that there is an Apple event coming up in New York City, he goes to his supervisor he tells him sir I want to take a day off because there is an Apple event. He is paid hourly which means that any day he doesn’t come to work he won’t be paid. So he takes a day out of work, he goes home he wakes up 4am in the morning and he drives to where they buy electronics and then he waits, they opens at 9 am in the morning, he takes his two weeks of work/ wage he hands over his credit card and they give him an iPhone. He takes that iphone home, he has wired and video cameras in his house and on unboxing the iPhone he takes pictures to Twitter, Facebook. That individual is not just a customer, that individual is a fan and that person is not operating at the level of meeting his or her needs but you are working to meet at his perception.So in this post-covid world creating that level of differentiation, separating yourself from your competitors is what is going to be extremely critical for companies to continue to finding opportunities. Just think about it 30/40 years ago the greatest companies where companies that manage supply but today some of the finest companies in the world are companies that control demand. So you have companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, they have a large number of customers they control and because of that they have market positioning creating very strong molds that not many people can actually find ways to compete.
So in the post Covid world, we need to have the capacity as entities to build competitive advantages that are going to be extremely critical for us to drive that bussines system and that is going to be how we are going to capture value. So it’s about moving from operating at the low ends of the market to actually moving upstream. What do I mean by upstream? Upstream here is talking about how do you move from where everyone is concentrated and how do you move to the level where there are very few companies that are actually operating there. So I show this by looking at the marginal cost. You know it is very important because Covid has shown us why digital companies are very critical. Covid has demonstrated to us why we need to spend so much effort to see that we continue to improve our ability to serve more customers at a very good competitive rate. So if you look at the old industrial age business you will see that cost per unit drops as a result of economy of scale but overtime you see that the marginal cost begins to go high. This ranking up of the marginal cost means that this company cannot grow effectively because it will begin to reach the diminishing returns but if you look at the right hand side for digital entities, you will see that the cost per unit continue to go like an asymptotic system where it never gets to 0 but it tends towards. That means that as we move into this Covid world most things and most entities are increasingly moving into the digital space, we are going to see companies that can actually scale to a very very significant one. But as we do that the question we can ask is, where are you operating as a business? You know we see today that some of the best companies,am using the Nigerian banking system for example here are entities that operating at the ages of IS-LM curve and it’s not just in the Nigeria banking system even if you go to the United State companies that operate at the ages of the IS-LM curve they are building extremely high level of capabilities. So if you are a bank you capture very low value because right here the value is least but if you are operating like the Fintech use the Fintech as an example, you see that the ages they are capturing more value.
So you have the Visa, you can also add the fintech, the Challenger banks they handle discovery and aggregation. Covid is making it possible that some of this entities at the ages of the IS-LM curve can actually capture most of the value in the market or even when the greatest work in the market is actually delivered by those at the center. So the question here for us is in your sector whether you are in insurance, whether you are in retail, whether you are in health care services, at what level of your industry, at what phase are you operating. If you are just operating at the center there is that propensity that you can do much of the work and you can not capture value. So in the knowledge based for us in this Covid world is to see how we can build our business processes that at the end of the day we can also have an opportunity to capture value.So using the African post covid world here, we are going to see a world where there is remote everything as we know and this is evident from educational systems to the way we work, to the health care services, to the sales management. People are now redesigning their business systems, so that they can actually move into all this places. There is also a high level of hybridization of the supply chain. I know many people in West Africa are spending significant amounts of time to find alternatives within their supply chain systems, not just focusing on Asia because of the experiences they had with covid. We also see semine automation, how do you bring AI and chatbot to improve your capacity to serve your customers without necessarily using the human systems. In case the system becomes the challenge that humans can not actually use to work and also we know that digitalisation and cloud migration is going to become a very critical element of the 21st century. I have written extensively on Clinton Herbert in business book where I noted one thing that the companies that will be in the future are going to be companies that have the capacity to actually grow with this type of marginal cost, where they continue to see cost per unit going asyntotically even as they continue to expand. That means that the absolute level advantage largely remains unbounded. So I am expecting that we will see such in our market system in this covid world and across many nexus and our business system. So actually that is a very short presentation I want to give here because i know that the time is short and we are going into discussion.
Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe invented and patented a robotic system which the United States Government acquired assignee rights. He holds two doctoral and four master’s degrees including a PhD in engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, USA. He earned an undergraduate degree from Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria, where he graduated as his class best student. While in Analog Devices Corp, he co-designed an accelerometer for the iPhone. A recipient of IGI Global “Book of the Year” award, a TED Fellow, IBM Global Entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Prof. Ekekwe has held professorships in Carnegie Mellon University and Babcock University, and served in the United States National Science Foundation Committee. Since 2009, the founder of Tekedia Capital, and Chairman of Fasmicro – Intel Corp’s only Africa certified and authorized programmable microprocessor partner-has been writing in the Harvard Business Review. He was recognized by The Guardian as one of 60 Nigerians Making “Nigerian Lives Matter” on Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day.