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Mind the Change Gap

Are You Innovating at the Speed of Change?

The world is changing all around us at an increasing rate, and individuals (and yes organizations too) are struggling to cope with this ever increasing pace of change.

In fact, over the last 50 years the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has dropped from 61 years to 18 years (and is forecast to shrink further in the future).1

Company Lifespans

Nobody of course wants to be one of those organizations that goes out of business, but the fact is that if your organization can’t innovate and change at the speed of change of its customers’ wants and needs, and the pace of geopolitical, social, and economic change in the world around it, then it will likely have to change its sign from open to CLOSED, permanently.

Your organization may indeed be doomed to fail if it develops on or more of the following change gaps:

  1. Your speed of hiring is slower than the speed of your growth
  2. Your speed of market understanding is slower than the pace of market change
  3. Your speed of insight dissemination and acceptance is slower than the pace of market change
  4. Your speed of idea commercialization is slower than the pace of market change
  5. Your speed of innovation is slower than the competition’s speed of innovation
  6. Your speed of internal change is slower than the rate of external change

The last one is of course the largest and the most important, and the most complex, being composed of your speed of:

  • Market Analysis (gathering of insights and inspiration)
  • Invention (creation of innovation source material)
  • Design (building a potential solution around an invention)
  • Development (taking the design and creating a scalable, launch ready solution)
  • Test (Evaluating with customers whether the solution works as designed and scales as intended)
  • Evolution (Launching the solution into the marketplace with open eyes and ears, pivoting/improving as necessary)

While it is possible to enter a market too early, you can survive this tactical error if you enter in a small way instead of committing to a global launch with grand customer promises. However, much more damage comes to organizations that enter too late. So, as an organization we must be constantly striving to get faster at discovering new market insights and adapting and aligning our organization to fulfill newly discovered market needs more quickly than our competition, otherwise we might find ourselves locked out of our customers’ top consideration set tier.

Consumption Spreads Faster

What other change gaps do you see as you look at your business or that of your competition?

This is the first of many articles that I will be writing in the run up to my second book (to be published by Palgrave Macmillan), in which I will explore the importance and implications of change in the ongoing success of organizations, along with building up a concise set of best practices and next practices for change.