Climbing a tree is no way to reaching the moon

In my previous post, I discussed about competitive benchmarking for future. Clearly, this is different from how traditional benchmarking as is understood. The dimensions and attributes are not based on the past or the expected performance of the competitors but from the ideal and future oriented performance driven by the values of growth. It is from the point of view of setting and meeting aspirational standards. The question to ask is “what inhibits the competition to reach the ideal state and thereby create the differentiators for your business”. It is just one of the ways to learn about the business you are in, not the only way.

I came across the question ‘whether innovation should ignore customers and look at only competition’ recently in one of the online forums dedicated to innovation. The answer to that question does not lie in the external environment or with others but within each organization and individual. If your guide to surviving is limited by the goals and objectives you set within your nested comfort zone, then you are certainly ignoring customers and just keeping your eye on competition. On the other hand, if you are aligned to excellence and thinking of delivering value to your customers, you are taking that extra step to educate, get the customers to own and commit to the innovation you are bringing to the table. In the process, you are facilitating growth. Innovation is about growth of the business enterprise; not just market share or profitability for a temporary period of time. There can never ever be Innovation without the customer – more so in this real-time, experience economy, Innovation is a co-creative experience and not a eureka moment in one’s private bath tub!

As we prepare ourselves to a new decade of business and life, it is imperative that we focus on growth. The last two years of the decade just gone by have set us back several notches and we need to recover and progress further to stay on-course for the next generation crossover; be it with respect to business or technology. Time and tide waits for none indeed!If all the existing businesses do not want to be taken over or marginalized by relative upstarts, they need to renew (may be even reinvent) themselves to the realities of a very different world. A global business integrated by cultures, collaborative and connected in real-time.

Here are the priorities for that renewal process:

  • Priority One: Understanding and orienting the enterprise principles, processes, capabilities, systems and infrastructure  to a well oriented growth program from the perspective of a new Connected Customer Universe.
  • Priority Two: Establishing the Customer Life Cycle Management as an integrated framework to organizational strategy development.
  • Priority Three: Setting up a Program Management Office that will directly become responsible for prioritizing and implementing projects directly relating to the growth of the enterprise through a balanced score card.

Reaching a goal is not Growth. Striving to reach it IS. The above priorities have been listed to make Transformation not a discrete event but a continuous one. Growth needs Action and it can only be done “now and here”. The most important part in creating that growth engine is renewing the organization for an environment of “Inspired Enthusiasm“. Getting in truck loads of people into work to do mechanical tasks must be replaced by creating an environment where people enjoy coming into work because they are inspired to contribute.

The reason for this over-emphasis is the observation where many business enterprises are just dusting their backsides and going back to doing business in 2010 with then same old model, as if nothing happened to them from 2007 onwards. It is not enough to acknowledge the changes in the global nature of our living but actively participate in being effective to face the emerging challenges. If manufacturing businesses have the need to find new ways to use and conserve energy or pack their products or reach it to their customers and consumers in unique ways, Banking, Financial Services & Insurance have to have a single view of the customer and deliver durable financial products and services governed by regulation and telecom and media have to embrace the duality of convergence and divergence to bring customers a unique experience globally.

None of the core principles of business have changed. Business Enterprises are required to create wealth in the societies they operate and not just plunder it. The operative dynamics are changing given the new ground rules of Computing, Content and Communications. Those who create differentiations using these the three change drivers will emerge at the winning post. Success will be measured by how you train and sustain your organization for renewing performance in the context of these new realities, responsively and repeatedly.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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