Let’s admit it since the invention of the steam engine the short answer to business growth has been improving the efficiencies within our organisations.
Most business consultants had an engineering or financial background. Ultimately time of production and the capital were the only two relevant dimensions to business growth.
While this approach towards business growth is valuable in developing economies loses its value in developed countries. Don’t take me wrong, to grow companies need to be efficient but this is no longer enough.
Rationality has done its course as the only way for businesses to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
So, guess what? We are allowed to have fun at work, actually, not only we are allowed, but it’s beneficial for generating growth. If we look at companies that are able to succeed in developed economies (in which basic needs are already satisfied), we discover that they invest lots of time trying to find out what their customer can't tell them.
This is not a matter of efficiency and neither of capital invested, instead is about creative thinking.
It seems to me that In the last ten years, the business world has been focusing much more on innovation rather than creativity: business model innovation, product innovation, process innovation, etc. And this lets me say, makes me a bit sad.
''Something is missing; business innovation does not happen randomly, it’s not like playing the lotto.''
Sustainable innovation instead is based on the effort of a team of people coming together challenging the current understanding of the need/s of their customers. Before being able to deliver a new solution (product or service), an organisation must first change its perception of the (conventional) need of their customer.
This shift in perception regarding the need of their customer is the seed for sustainable growth because it provides the essence of a differentiation strategy.
Being different, rather than being better or simply more efficient then your competitors seems to be the new way to approach growth.
In the next post, we will explore some tools you can use to get started with Strategy Visualisation. Here you can read how I use Visme (a great online visualisation tool) to further creative thinking with my clients.