Business lessons from Batman

Introducing your digital utility belt

Last week Batman turned 80, and that got us thinking about the lessons businesses could learn from the World’s Greatest Detective. As it turns out, there are quite a few. With Batman being CEO and heir of Wayne Enterprises, he is a prime example for entrepreneurs and businesses – especially those looking to embrace digitalisation. 

Unlike other “superhuman” heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman was a mere mortal. So how did he do it? Well, quite simply, he always had next-gen technology in place to help get the job done.  

Getting ahead of the enemy

Just as Batman invested his resources from Wayne Enterprises into building his gadgets, the Batcave and the Batmobile to make his vigilante missions as efficient as possible, businesses need to adopt systems that ruthlessly emphasise simplification, automation and delivery. This will accelerate the entire business agenda – turning a digital transformation strategy from a Ford Fiesta into a Batmobile.

Indeed, there’s no way Batman would have been able to protect the whole of Gotham on foot (the Batmobile was essential), or without real-time communication with Alfred in the Batcave. Businesses must follow his example and find ways to free up investment and resources to propel digital transformation and to keep ahead of the enemy, or in this case, the competition. While admittedly businesses aren’t having to protect Gotham (thankfully), this will ultimately help them achieve their goals by making their customers a lot happier and boosting the coffers. 

Another thing that sets Batman apart from his fellow Justice League members? He was always prepared to stop the villains of Gotham from their maniacal campaigns. He would anticipate their every move and go so far as to even develop contingency plans to take out the members of the Justice League should they go rogue. Similarly, entrepreneurs should be more like the Caped Crusader and have a vision of what the company should look like in the next five to ten years. Once that’s done, it can start to consider all the elements which influence its vision and focus on executing it – just like Christopher Nolan’s vision of a grittier, more emotionally thrilling Batman film franchise, which he directed so successfully.

Even superheroes need help

The Dark Knight realised he couldn’t always succeed alone, despite his many gadgets. Like all good entrepreneurs, he built a team. Both Robin and Batgirl were always kept in the loop and were well-trained at using Batman’s gadgets. Likewise, successful digital transformation needs the right people and skills. It’s not all about getting the right tech – they also need the right talent with the necessary superpowers to address the needs of the business.

The Caped Crusader would go ahead and collaborate with other superhero teams, too, when he knew he needed outside expertise. In the same way, digital transformation necessitates more than just skilled IT or digital teams; it requires cross-company collaboration. We’re not suggesting speaking to colleagues in Christian Bale’s husky, whispering Batman voice, but certainly different departments need to be talking to each other.

Batman’s triumphs often depended on specialities of his different partners; he brought in Superman for his super strength, Green Arrow for his archery skill or the Flash for his super speed. He aimed to ensure that his teammates’ qualities complemented his own skillset, so that every member brought value to the mission. Similarly, businesses need to balance their strengths by choosing partners carefully to ensure they turn the in-house team into an all-powerful entity – perhaps even more effective than the Caped Crusader himself.

Always be prepared

Finally, Batman always kept up to date with the latest tech and was well informed on all existing and potential threats. He knew what was coming and made sure he was prepared even if that meant creating tailored solutions to meet his enemy in battle, like the Arctic Armour Suit to face off against Mr. Freeze. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT), the way we do business is rapidly evolving. IT departments should aim to future-proof their organisation by not only incorporating new tech and keeping in touch with tech developments, but also ensuring that their system can cope with the demands of any technology acquired in future.

Batman – also known as Bruce Wayne – is the perfect example of a businessman prepared for every scenario, whose skills in his daytime business were applied to his vigilante activities at night. It is no surprise that through his preparedness, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest heroes the comic-verse has ever seen. If entrepreneurs seek to turn their businesses into the Wayne Enterprises of the future, they should certainly take lessons from its CEO - Mr Wayne himself.

If you want to handle digital transformation like The Dark Knight, make sure you absorb Batman’s business lessons and consult our handy page containing advice for businesses seeking to drive extraordinary outcomes, which is accessible here.

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