Why Brexit negotiations will ultimately fail...no commercial creativity
Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. We're sure you are fed up of the word yet there is still over 18 months until B-Day hits the UK. Whether you are for, against or think its a load of rubbish one of the things I would put my money on is that the negotiations will fail.
The true test of failure
When we mention the word fail we don't mean that it won't happen. Here at Skopen, throughout our many agitated Brexit discussions (for and against) one thing we all agree on is that the two sides will come back with an agreed (albeit very long) document that has all the detail about how things will work post March 2019.
What we mean here by fail is whether that document will be able to achieve the following:
1. Unite the country in how to move forward post-Brexit
2. Unite parliament on the UK-EU relationship post-Brexit
3. Improve things for the UK and EU citizens post-Brexit
The commercially creative challenge here is part 3. I think the biggest fundamental creative issue that facing the Brexit negotiations, there are no citizens - what I like to think of as customers - involved in the discussions.
I don't mean your everyday man sat in the meeting listening to the Government appointed ministers discussing the optimal banana growing policies. What is actually missing is the insights that have driven us to this point and what the citizens of both sides want from their leaders to deliver (Brexit or non-Brexit relevancy).
So how is creativity missing?
Lets take farming policies for example, what is it that is both propping up, driving forward and keeping the farmer in the UK awake at night? What are the same things facing those farmers across the rest of Europe? What policies need to change, update, move or be removed to achieve a satisfactory outcome for both sides?
So if we have the customer in our sights, we can ask the right questions and then negotiate the right elements or policies (including why we would or wouldn't continue to pay into common market subsidies for example).
So if I was a farmer and the Prime Minister came back to the UK and said "here are the new terms and we thought about you, the people", it would be hard for me to not be engaged (and even supportive). Clear examples mean a challenge has been met and a creative mindset has been used to achieve the innovative solution. Especially if both sides can agree.
What do we predict?
At Skopen we predict the following things will happen...CHAOS!
The UK and EU will reach an agreement (of some kind) but it will not unite anybody. Now being pragmatic you will never make everyone happy but you can make the majority.
It will being chaos and unhappiness in the UK because people will not know what it means to them, the country or the long-term relationship with the EU. The same can be said for those in the UK parliament. It will split those making the decisions because there is too much focus on the personal objective and not on the creative solution to this problem. A classic example of too many opinions and not enough insight.
I think when we come closer to Brexit we should all be asking ourselves the following:
1. If we were running a company in this situation, would we be happy as shareholders and customers with the way it has been managed and the outcome achieved? (The answer is probably no)
2. Do we understand the solutions being presented to us and how they meet the needs of the people and parties of both side of Brexit? (The answer will again be no, the feeling will be a focus on a tick-box achievement not the sentiment behind a successful negotiation or transition)
3. Has the biggest challenge faced by the negotiation been overcome? We don't know what that is but it is very likely to involve money and borders, of some kind, and if the answer is no then the wrong people are in the room asking the wrong questions, thinking about the wrong people and coming up with the wrong solutions.
The biggest challenge I think we are presented with is that the right solution may actually be no solution. Does a no-deal Brexit offer better results than a deal? Does staying in meet more needs of our country than the decision to leave? Only time will tell.