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Wellness is up for reinvention, says GWS keynote John Kao

10 Nov 2020
John Kao, MD and best-selling author on innovation and enterprise transformation, believes the wellness market is ripe for innovation and transformation.

Speaking at the 2020 Global Wellness Summit, he predicted that once the pandemic resolves, there will be a massive outpouring of energy towards wellness and wanting to reinvent the way we live.

“It’s been a time of figuring out what’s important and what can be left behind, a time for reorganising ourselves and introspection,” he said, “within this lies tremendous potential.

“This means wellness is up for reinvention and that there’s real potential to create new sources of value.”

Kao was keen to state that now is not just a time of disruption, but also a period of discontinuity. The difference being that disruption is short-term and discontinuity is pervasive, meaning we’re not going to go back to conditions as normal.

“This indicates a new way of doing things that implies the need not just for improvement-oriented innovation, but reinvention-style of innovation.”

He believes this means there’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur and innovator because it’s meant there’s a palpable dynamism in the early stage venture business.

Kao’s contacts in the early-stage venture capital industry say money is being invested like there’s no tomorrow and that people are coming up with business plans left, right and centre.

“This isn’t surprising because it tracks with history that major companies – such as Apple – got formed in times of recession and disruption and discontinuity, because these conditions mean there’s a fundamental humility in how to do things and openness to new possibilities.”

In Kao’s opinion, reinvention doesn’t happen when we sit as an expert.

He referenced a Zen Buddhist concept – called Beginner’s mind – which has a saying that in the mind of the expert there are many opinions and in the mind of the beginners there are few, therefore all new things begin with a beginners mind.

In essence, if you want to reinvent the bridge from today to the desired future, you have to have the openness to consider the possibilities with a blank sheet of paper.

He summed up by saying that the future of wellness looks bright, highlighting the significance of the summit, its research and the Global Wellness Institute's effort to reinvent the notion of wellness and wellbeing for the 21st century.

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