Innovation is central to all successful companies and it all begins with creative ideas. But, to transform ideas into profit, also requires us to think, behave and execute differently from the competition!
In some regards, the important aspects of strategy and business planning revolve around seven fundamental questions: (1) Where are we now?; (2) Where do we need to go?; (3) How do we get there?; (4) What’s the best route?; (6) Are we there yet?; and, (7) Did we arrive in the right place?
The thing is, if it’s as easy as answering these simple questions, then why aren’t we all billionaires? Good question! One of the myriad of reasons is the way we’re taught to think about business and, more specifically, about how we’re obsessed with beating the competition.
In a nutshell, we are taught to analyse the competitive offerings in the market, to exploit potential opportunities – to make incremental improvements to overall business performance. In different words, we are taught to strive for baby step type ‘upgrades’ rather than giant leap for mankind type ‘step changes’.
The problem is, whilst you’re analysing the competition, the bad guys are analysing your business, too! The result is a strategic bloodbath of head-to-head competition, where companies, offering broadly similar products & services, fight tooth-and-nail for microscopic, short-term advantages.
Often, it ends up being a zero-sum game, where no-one wins or everyone loses – depending upon your viewpoint. Our rigorous, textbook thinking has us locked into a vicious circle of analysis paralysis. So much so, that we’ve forgotten the most important thing in business – the Customer. After all, isn’t successful business about ‘differentiation’, about being different, being superior and delivering value to Customers?
In effect, by creating, launching and maintaining products and services so different, so superior, and so valued – you’ll create your own uncontested market space, free from competitors. The reward for achieving such strategic uniqueness will be an impenetrable barrier to entrance, combined with higher revenues and higher returns. Indeed, get this right and there’ll be so much clear water between you and the competition that they’ll be left trailing in your wake – and, over a period of time, will fade into the distance.
In some regards, this type of innovative thinking is just one way I help companies achieve growth. Simply put, I work alongside CEOs and their management teams to focus the business on what’s truly important. In other words, instead of trying to beat other companies in a dog-eat-dog cage fight, we implement such significant levels of strategic innovation, that the competition becomes irrelevant!