A people first and scalable approach to growth and innovation
The starting point for any bold growth effort is to embrace the idea of step change and devise growth options that do more than just move the needle. A big inhibitor of step change is the experience of most senior leaders, which has been hard earned in the world of favouring predictable improvements. We specialise in helping senior leaders envisage what game changing growth could look like and then help them build consensus around a customer focused approach to getting there.
Our clients are often surprised when we talk about discipline, performance management, risk minimisation, and governance in the same breath as step change growth. There is a perception that exponential growth is all about creative brilliance and entrepreneurial pizazz. We don’t think so. Our focus is on helping you create an operating model that is geared towards step change but underpinned by the corporate, regulatory and market realities that bind you. Bold ambition can only be delivered by unwavering process excellence. Our approach doesn't cover all areas of your organisation, we don’t subscribe to the notion of throwing out everything and starting from scratch. However, we do believe that step change growth requires you to walk and chew gum at the same time, and one operating model can’t be expected to do both.
Step change growth can’t be delivered without embracing a very different way of thinking, working and interacting. So much of corporate history has been dominated by the world of complicated problems where intellect and experience are used to solve challenges. Step change growth moves us into the realm of complex problems, where past experience is not necessarily a good determinant of future success. It takes a deliberate effort to create a culture which heroes inputs while maintaining accountability for outputs; which focuses on people, customers and learning instead of false certainty through flawed analysis, powerpoint and business plans. That said, culture efforts that are overly “Kumbaya” aren't the answer either. We work with clients to create a growth focused culture that is tailored to delivering step change, grounded in data and transparency, cognizant of today’s working environment expectations but ultimately focused on unwavering delivery.
Most incumbent organisations create growth strategies that are rarely achieved. These growth plans are often considered to be unique, but in reality, competitors most likely have very similar growth plans in mind. Even if successful, growth tends to be incremental, with step change revenue uplift thought to be reserved for smaller more nimble companies.
We help organisations reimagine what game changing growth looks like, and most importantly, how to build the vision, systems and culture to achieve it. This is not your standard tinkering process with small changes to process and governance. Rather, we help organisations create a radically different customer centric environment where the entire operating model, underpinned by growth mindsets and a bolder leadership approach, is tailored to delivering sustainable step change while minimising risk.
Innovation is often a luxury line item in a budget that gets thrown in to appease stakeholders. If innovation is a ‘nice to have’ for you, then we need to address that before we can do anything else. Business models no longer endure for decades. Disruption is the new normal and innovation is the only way to get ahead of this and lead the pack. We specialise in helping leaders understand the importance innovation needs to play in their strategy and we demystify the process and ultimately the fear around moving beyond horizon one products and business models.
Innovation can be learned and is not dependent on luck, superior intellect or heroic efforts. Venture Capitalists recognise that most of their investments will not pay off, which is why they take a portfolio approach to innovation, and yet corporates tend to back only a few horses. We help you build a volume based approach that maximises for idea and opportunity throughput. This requires processes to guide everything from ideation, stage gate progression, funding, testing and evidence gathering, governance and even resourcing. The trick is to think of innovation as a living ecosystem where ideas are like sun and water. As long as the ecosystem stays healthy, your outputs are guaranteed.
The operating model mentioned above can only be supported by a very different culture. Given the high level of uncertainty involved in the exploration of new business ideas there is a vast difference between how you should manage your current business priorities (your Exploit portfolio) and your step change innovation opportunities (your Explore portfolio). Expecting a homogenous culture across both is a recipe for failure. We help you put in place the cultural stepping stones that support your innovation ecosystem so that it can scale. This is not all soft stuff. The innovation culture is underpinned by conscious organisation design choices, a purposeful performance based approach, and professional innovation practices. And success will be as dependent on leadership support as for your core business.
Innovation is a discipline.
Most companies fail to innovate because they think it stems from ‘a ha moments’, left field thinkers who see around corners and superheroes able to go from idea to business against all adversity. While some companies might get occasionally lucky with this approach, it is not repeatable or sustainable.
The only way to consistently innovate is to play the numbers game. Innovation is ultimately a learnable process that can be industrialised and scaled. It requires a supporting vision, systems and culture and once you get this right, new products, ventures and business models are inevitable system outputs.