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Strip Back to Basics: How To Become A Reinventionist

Today at the World Retail Congress in Dubai, Joe hosted a panel discussion with Abercrombie chair Arthur Martinez and Livraria Cultura CEO Sergio Herz on the importance of uncovering the core DNA of a business to stay relevant, and the need for continuous reinvention in today’s marketplace.

While industry discussion often focuses on why retailers need to reinvent (due to disruption, the rapid pace of change, changing consumer expectations, to name a few), how do they do it with confidence?

This requires becoming a Reinventionist – a person who embodies a set of behaviours proven to accelerate Reinvention, and who has a mindset to expertly manage change.

Our full brief RE: Stripping Back to Basics, expanding our World Retail Congress discussion and including the principles of the Reinventionist Mindset, is available to read and download now. For full coverage of the World Retail Congress, including daily recaps and live social feed, visit our event microsite.

Here, insights from our panelists, and highlights from the conversation.

Martinez, who is currently chair of Abercrombie and Fitch, itself on the cusp of a reinvention, noted during the discussion that retailers should always be watching for new trends and technologies that are triggers and cases for change. A compelling case for change means making choices and creates a real focus for success (also one of the principles of the Reinventionist Mindset). In the case of Sears, for example, for which he was CEO in 1990s, they focused on reinventing the stores which, while a difficult choice, was essential for success. He also talked about Abercrombie’s DNA as an outdoor outfitter for adventurers, “iconically American to its approach.” And that DNA is applicable today, he said – not in the same merchandise, but through a bold, beautiful exploration of America (see more of his thoughts on Abercrombie & Fitch and the need for continuous reinvention in the video below).

Herz expressed that it is mandatory to reinvent or change everyday, while staying true to the core of the business.

Livaria Cultura, for example, began in 1947, founded by Herz’s grandmother, who shared information and knowledge with friends through books. Sharing knowledge with people has been the prevailing DNA of the business as it has grown and adapted to the current marketplace of e-commerce and technology that challenge the book industry (25% of Livaria Cultura’s sales come from online purchases).