Max McKeown, in his 2011 publication The Strategy Book, states "strategy is about shaping the future" and is the human attempt to get to "desirable ends with available means".
It would be tough to argue that growth is not a "desirable end" for most any organization. Seems pretty simple - use the available means to create growth. Maybe the challenge comes in the first portion of the quote from McKeown, that "strategy is about shaping the future". So how does one discern what means are available in the future to create growth?
I will offer up a place to start. When I am looking for growth, I often like to explore the intersection of three key dimensions:
• core competencies,
• technology dynamics, and
• demographic/psychographic dynamics.
Apple’s growth break out, the iPod, is a great example. Apple understood one of their key core competencies – an intuitive user experience, saw how broadband adoption would greatly reduce download times, and recognized the demographic interest in an easily available portfolio of my favorite music went way beyond the early millennials accessing Napster. A number of other success factors were critical (scooping SoundJam's “exchange platform” built to connect disparate music sources with millions of fans was brilliant), but the opportunity is revealed by the three dimensions of core competencies, technology dynamics, and demographic/psychographic dynamics.
AT&T developed a new growth vector by leveraging their core competencies in moving vast amounts of data, the “new” benefits of cloud storage, and the burgeoning healthcare needs of our aging population. They created a highly secure vendor neutral cloud based medical imaging solution. Looking back from today’s armchair this seems all very logical. Years ago, when the concept was being developed, I am sure there were a variety of opinions on it’s merit.
Clearly, this strategic approach is not the only way to find growth opportunities. The point is that good solid strategy can create good growth, and we can all use a good dose of that.
My next blog will focus on a simple approach to move from a long list of early growth concepts, to the few that deserve your attention and resources.
In the meantime, drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts on how good strategy creates good growth.
Let's create some growth!