WE DESIGN BUSINESS STRATEGY AND UNCOVER WHITE SPACE OPPORTUNITIES THAT FUEL GROWTH IN RAPIDLY CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS
Building growth strategy
Why should companies compete differently? The pace of change will only keep increasing, customers will always become more demanding, and competition will constantly intensify. To thrive, companies need to evolve fast, and do it in a way different than their rivals. By executing creative market assessment and reshaping business models, companies can chart new, different, and exciting futures. We leverage our vast experience navigating volatile markets and proprietary frameworks for making the tough calls, enabling companies to chart an ambitious growth strategy to capitalize on industry change.
We’ve worked with several of the world’s largest companies, and with scrappy venture-backed start-ups, to plot growth strategy that is distinct and shakes up industries by seizing growth opportunities. Our experience comes from top tier consulting, working closely with innovation legend Clayton Christensen, and being entrepreneurs ourselves. We focus on four industries – technology, healthcare, financial services, and consumer goods – although we’ve also worked in countless more. It’s our diverse experience and expertise, our creativity, our analytical rigor, and our attention to detail that makes our approach to growth strategy distinct and successful.
Usually, companies have no shortage of exciting ideas. The challenge for a growth strategy lies in prioritizing which ideas to pursue vigorously, which ones to monitor for activation, and which ones to kill now so that they avoid “zombie project” status – neither quite living nor quite dead. Large organizations struggle with this because they often lack both a clear portfolio plan for which innovations to prioritize, as well as external market intelligence to complement frequently diverging internal opinions.
We team with companies to conduct market assessment through lenses such as:
Critically, we help companies break through their “analysis paralysis” to make decisive strategic choices. While a fast follower growth strategy works in some environments, in others it pays to be a first mover. In exploring white space opportunities, we help companies decide how quickly they need to move, whether further research will meaningfully reduce risk, and how they should balance iterative testing with bold decision-making.
PURSUING INEXPENSIVE INNOVATION
Our recent book Cosotvation lays out dozens of ways that companies are delighting customers with innovations while also saving money. We have counselled on and documented examples of how organizations can focus their customer targeting, simplify their offerings, and revolutionize their business models to provide exciting, inexpensive innovation.
We chart these strategies through understanding customer Jobs to be Done, carefully thinking through all the types of innovation that can occur beyond the product itself, drawing clear analogies to in-market examples, and building a coherent growth strategy that is both extraordinary and cheap. It is that combination of factors that often creates disruptive innovation and upends industries.
How we can help
Our tools for developing a winning growth strategy
Delivering a winning strategy can take a number of forms, from simple ideation around a white space opportunity, to plotting the go-to-market strategy for a new product, to developing the organization’s five-year strategic plan. Whatever the need, we’ll work closely with you to find the tools and pathways that are best suited to fit your goals, budget, and timeline. Some of our frequent projects and approaches include:
As a firm dedicated to the proposition of “Compete Differently,” we combine tools and past experience to meet the specific needs of clients. There is no “one size fits all” framework or approach, but rather the flexibility and creativity of a boutique devoted to creative, rigorous, and pragmatic thinking. We believe all those traits – frequently seen as being in tension – can exist together and build on each other to produce a growth strategy that is truly unique.
our perspective on growth strategies
Commercializing like an entrepreneur
Successful entrepreneurs are fantastic at iterating their business plans: as they learn more about the risks and assumptions that undergird their business, they quickly back away from ideas that don’t work and double down on bets that are likely winners.
When large, established companies explore new markets, however, we’ve found that they tend to over-invest in strategies that have worked for the core business. This makes it difficult to learn from hiccups, experiment with other approaches, and change tactics.
A key for larger businesses to win in market creation is to find a balance between quick, flexible, entrepreneurial thinking, and the rigorous processes that established firms execute so well.
How to create a new business model
Why is it so hard to create new business models?
The business model of a company -- its formula for sustained success -- becomes deeply ingrained. It is reflected in who the firm hires, how it measures performance, who it targets as customers, the standards it creates for budgets, and how it views competitors. Indeed, the business model must permeate the firm in this way if the company is to become better at executing this formula than its competition. When a company is well-aligned around a business model, it repeatedly wins battles fought on that turf.
However, industries evolve. Pfizer became arguably the world’s greatest firm at selling blockbuster drugs like Lipitor, but the next wave of growth has to come from tightly-targeted therapies such as expensive biologic drugs, sometimes coupled with other offerings such as diagnostics and home monitoring. These new drugs call for totally distinct approaches toward R&D, marketing, sales, and business partnerships. They are sold at vastly higher price points, to far smaller populations. Cost structures, internal processes, staffing, and much else needs to change. For Pfizer, creating a new business model is wrenching.
To surmount these challenges, firms need to be proactive about rigorously defining the business model they have today and mapping how that model might have to change in various future scenarios.
The company can then plot its transition, building new capabilities bit-by-bit and testing new models. Change can become more strategic and manageable.
This process begins with a rigorous de-construction of the current model, including clearly stated strategies (e.g. customers targeted), norms (acceptable gross margins), and unconscious factors (how headquarters interacts with staff in the field). Management can then discuss which aspects of the model are easily changed, which are threatened by industry evolution, and what inter-dependencies exist. While the output of this work could be slide decks of gargantuan scale, we find that focused workshops with key staff can achieve most of the objectives of this phase quickly and efficiently.
Subsequently, companies need to relate their future strategies to the new business model required for their success. Questions might include:
Once the firm has laid out the potential components of a new business model, it can decide how to sequence its transition to new approaches. Seldom would a company want to change many variables at one time in the core business. That is like building the plane while flying it – dangerous. Instead, the firm may opt to create a separate business unit to trial a radically different model, or it might enact small-scale experiments within the core business.
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