Three lessons learned from operating in the rapidly evolving Cannabis industry


Three lessons learned from operating in the rapidly evolving Cannabis industry

September 9, 2020

In the last decade, in Canada and the United States, there has been uncertainty and rapid change in the operating environment for Cannabis products. We can look back at that time and apply the following lessons to our present rapidly changing environment.  

Lesson 1: Get in front of the right people

It can be difficult to find and recruit research participants, so it’s important to have a variety of techniques to get user feedback. Companies can create non-traditional ways to test products or put more emphasis on traditional channels that provide opportunities for quick feedback. One company we worked with partnered with a cannabis equipment store to engage with users. This helped the company to keep a pulse on trends through the different conversations that the retail staff participated in.

Lesson 2: Create a flexible business 

A constantly-evolving system tends to require regular adjustments to your business process. Workable solutions with some errors that can be changed quickly are better than rigid offerings that limit change. Don’t create hard and fast rules for systems and processes until you have no other choice. Don’t make huge investments in all-in-one technology systems knowing that it will be important to update and change business processes later. It is better to use multiple systems and remove unnecessary business rules to provide needed flexibility. 

Lesson 3: Stay curious about the system

Unexpected connections within the system often deliver value. It is important to not only focus on the business problem at hand but also keep in mind the bigger operating system.  While working with older arthritic users we decided to study high-performance athletes using Cannabis products to manage joint pain.  Some insights became applicable to our original target population. Because we were willing to think more broadly about pain management we uncovered new insights. It is important to take time to research and explore broadly.  

In an increasingly complex world, where change is constant, these lessons will help businesses to adapt and ultimately succeed. 

Photo by Martijn Baudoin on Unsplash


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