I’m sure you are familiar with the S-Curve concept that describes the development of a product, or for that matter, just about anything. You know – first the product is introduced, it develops slowly, and then suddenly (if it has merit) it takes off in an upward trajectory until it is eventually replaced with a better product & it fades into obscurity.
I recently read an article in Inc. magazine by Magnus Penker, CEO of Innovation 360, within which he explains that the key to success in business is to consistently leave the S-Curve that you are on for a newer, better one, prior to your current one entering that “flat stage” at the end of its life. In other words, he suggests that we must “Innovate or Die.”
While that concept may sound scary, especially if you haven’t done much innovating recently, I think it’s more important that we remember that the rules of business have changed. We are under much more pressure to boost efficiencies, reduce costs or simply streamline our processes. The key, as Penker points out, is to prolong your current S-Curve as long as it continues to be beneficial, but not beyond that point.
Think about anyone in your industry who has recently gone out of business. Did they innovate or simply do the same things in the same manner because, “We’ve always done it that way?” On the contrary, Penker states: “To prolong the life of your S-Curve, you’ll need to employ incremental innovation, which is all about improving current products or services, enhancing their features, or lowering operating costs.”
He goes on to say, however, that the challenge of generating these incremental improvements may leave you vulnerable to sudden, unexpected shifts in your market. The key is to experiment with new ideas that you can learn from, without severely damaging your future. Of course, this also needs to be offset with the ever-rising need for change.
Finally, he asks: “How will you change the world?”
Once again, using the combined thinking of Joseph Schumpeter (Creative Destruction) and Dan Heath (Upstream), my question for you remains:
“What innovations do you have available to you right now to boost the productivity of your business (… and transition you to the next S-Curve)?”
If you spend some time on this, I guarantee that you will continue to expand your future opportunities and profitability results!
I’d like to invite you to join me for our upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops later this year, within which, I’ll continue to focus on the benefits of this type of proactive thinking. We’ll be doing portions of this process through Zoom Group Sessions, with monthly follow-up calls on an individual basis. Let’s take your business to the Next Level!