Musings on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Monday, July 19, 2004
Market Velocity and Organizational Pacing
I just came across an interesting posting regarding the management of creativity that highlights a conundrum:
- When the organization is "winning" there is enough time, resources, and opportunities to explore new options -- but there is also little incentive to change what isn't broken.
- When the organization is "losing" there is urgency, purpose, and often clarity for changing but there is also not enough resources to devote to exploring options, and this approach is not a long-term solution.
In other words, when we're flush, we tend to get passive and flabby. It's only when we're in the middle of a massive coronary does serious consideration of an exercise regimen enter our thoughts. Sometimes, the thought comes too late.
Organizational creativity, like exercise, takes time, thought, energy and other scarce resources. Consequently, a commitment to exploring options involves economic tradeoffs:
- Is our innovation and product development schedule aggressive enough for this market?
- How does our innovation rate compare to customers' shifting preferences?
- How can we make sure customers value the excellence we offer?
- How much is the bottleneck in manufacturing/finance/customer service going to hurt our growth?
- Is the market leaving the company behind? Is the market moving out of range of the products we offer?
- How fast is too fast?
These are the kind of questions that my Venture Dynamics Group colleagues, Laura Black and Don Greer of Greer Black Company, help companies answer. They are hard questions, to be sure, but the alternative to trying to answer them might be the equivalent of a corporate heart attack.