Winner of the award for Excellence in the Management of Technology for 2019, category for small enterprises

Empathy and future thinking are the secrets to remaining relevant

Longstanding business models have been smashed to smithereens by the brutal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that have gone with it. But amid the tragedy of jobs lost and businesses bankrupted are reports of hope and resilience – of enterprises and entrepreneurs whose underlying technologies and business models were supple enough to prepare them for the unexpected.

Cura Risk Management is one such company and so are a number of its clients.

“Companies that have had proper business continuity and risk strategies will come out of this quite well because they were prepared for the unexpected,” says Alex Roberts, Cura’s Regional Director: Sales and Operations. “We didn’t know the unexpected would be a pandemic specifically, but we did know that business interruption is South Africa’s top business risk and already had the necessary response plans in place.”

Quite a few of Cura’s clients have let the company know that they are weathering the pandemic better than expected because they use its tools. “Governance, compliance and risk services tend to be seen as a grudge purchase but when businesses experience the benefits of being compliant, acting ethically and taking responsibility for their impact and employees, hopefully the thinking will start to shift,” he says.

Apart from the ability to exercise future thinking, the single biggest asset a business can have in the quest to remain relevant, regardless of pandemics and other systemic shocks, is probably empathy.

“New product development needs to be embedded in empathy so that we understand what the end user is struggling with, get to know their pain points and walk a little bit in their shoes,” says Jess Knight, Strategic Manager at Cura. “Then we can define the problem, ideate, prototype, test and implement. It all starts with empathy.”

A pandemic-related pain point for almost every business is adjusting to the new normal and the complex and complicated lockdown regulations that go with it, she says. Empathising with those struggles, Cura is launching a solution to enable companies to function effectively and compliantly amid the uncertainty.

“We have very agile tools and a very agile approach to rolling out solutions, and can do it very cheaply because we don’t change our software, we change the solution,” says Alex. “The market guides us and therefore we can take advantage of being the best mover – not necessarily the first mover, but the best mover.”

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