Monday, May 22, 2023

5 Keys To Capitalizing On Nondisruptive Business Growth

growth-nondisruptiveMost of the entrepreneurs and aggressive business owners I meet in my consulting practice are focused on finding new disruptive solutions and killing competitors as the key to success. If you are one of these, you may be missing win-win opportunities to incrementally expand existing markets, create new ones enabled by new technologies, or do good for society in this new age.

For example, witness the current creation of the space tourism industry, vaccines to control new viruses, or simply providing a free product to the needy for every product sold. Not all innovations have to be as disruptive as the Netflix digital download was to Blockbuster’s DVD business.

I found many non-disruption recommendations in the new book, “Beyond Disruption,” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Both authors are recipients of numerous academic and management awards for leadership thinking, and I will summarize here their key strategy insights, combined with my own experiences:

  1. Lead with a focus on finding customer value. Begin with a perspective on improving the current market reality without needing to disrupt what is. This means flipping your mental script from rebuilding current platforms to envision what could be, by creating new realities, changing the environment, or creating an additional world with different actions.

    Don’t confuse the means with the ends. It’s easy to be seduced by innovative technology, but customers and the market need to see direct value to them, to offset the learning curve and infrastructure changes required. Seek innovation with non-disruptive value.

  2. Address an emerging or unexplored problem. A new opportunity may be one that has long existed, but has remained unexplored because it hasn’t been seen as solvable or a viable new market. Also look for emerging new needs beyond existing industry boundaries. I encourage you to dream big, but start small, and size these opportunities.

    In my experience, the biggest winners in business are those who excel at “seeing around corners,” or predicting customer needs and problems before they actually occur. To do this, you need a mindset of always looking ahead and reacting quickly to new trends.

  3. Find ways to unlock and capture the opportunity. This starts with debunking the existing assumptions that have concealed the opportunity and then reframing it with today’s technology to find a solution. Have the courage to develop an independent point of view and be prepared to ignore discouragement and assumptions from the pundits.

    I have found that the most innovative business leaders use reframing to change their perspective, think differently, and reduce anxiety. Reframing means re-conceptualizing a problem by look at it from a different perspective and identifying alternative solutions.

  4. Use your confidence and competence to succeed. Key enablers required along the way include capitalizing on the resourcefulness of you and your team, marshalling internal resources, and fostering a “can do” mindset. As with any innovation, you need to get market feedback by conducting rapid market tests with real people you intend to help.

    As a mentor to many business professionals, I find many who are risk-averse or not confident in their own abilities to make forward-looking decisions. You as a business leader must counter these fears by highlighting successes and rewarding risk takers.

  5. Aim high to build a better world for customers. There are many areas currently ripe for nondisruptive innovation, including aging of the world’s population, managing world energy demand, and probing deeper into our place in the universe. Any of these will provide business growth without socially disruptive or existing business consequences.

    That higher purpose motivates people in a way that financial wins alone never will. For a company to grow and thrive, it needs to find and broadcast its purpose in all that it does. Today’s generation of customers and workers also assigns real value to higher purpose.

With these steps, you can use innovation to create win-win outcomes in a world where economic growth and societal good are not trade-offs. The classic approach to change, involving disruptive innovation, is painful for all, and takes too long. I recommend this new strategy based on positive-sum thinking to build a world of business that is viewed most positively by today’s consumers.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on on 05/08/2023 ***



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