How to cope in an increasingly complex world

15 February, 2014 Strategy

Finding your way?

We live in an increasingly complex world. Most scientists would even agree that we are living in one of the greatest times of change in the whole history of mankind. And that the pace of change is still increasing.

Some things however don’t seem to change…

One is that – in any business – someone needs to buy the products or services produced, ideally over and over again because that someone – the customer – somehow needs or appreciates the solutions that are offered. Otherwise – no sales, no growth, no profitability, no business.

Relevant innovation critical to growth and future success 

At the same time change, innovation and competition is increasing on a global scale and consumers are less loyal than ever before. However, beating your competition today isn’t so much about how effective and efficient your are in your production – because you and your competitors pretty much all are. It is rather about how you help your customers solve their problems better than the competition.

Still, the majority of innovation focuses on products and on adding new product features rather than truly satisfying customer needs. Innovation is however so much more. It also has to happen in relevant services, the overall business model, the overall customer experience, the brand and in the supporting processes in order for you to stay relevant and attractive to your selected target segments.

In fact, research shows that innovation on the last four areas bring far more value than only new product features and benefits. Hence, product and production focus isn’t good enough and won’t take you to a winning position in you industry in the future.

Customer centricity – key to success

Customer centricityAn important insight that is starting to gain grounds with management thinkers of today is that a sustainable competitive advantage very rarely can be created by the back end of a business. Instead a sustainable competitive advantage needs to be created in the front end.

And it originates from a in depth market and customer understanding – throughout your organization.

Hence, the key strategic question that will drive your business forward isn’t “What else can we make”, but “What else can we do for our customers”. That means that your customers – rather than your factories, or the products – now are at the core of your business and of your future success.

Being customer centric isn’t something new. We have however noted that many companies do not have the time or resources directed at deeply understanding their market, relevant trends, their customers, their customers’ aspirations and how to best solve their customers’ problems. Instead short term goals, internal issues, silo thinking, products, production, logistics, processes implementation and other priorities have an increasing tendency to take over the everyday focus.

How to cope in an increasingly complex world? By truly understanding your target customers, relevant trends and consistently delivering true customer value in all relevant dimensions…? Maybe it isn’t more complex than that…

About Inquentia 

We identify, explore and develop opportunities for growth and renewal, powering the future of our clients’ teams, brands and businesses. Always from a market and customer perspective. In the process we help create time for reflection, train, guide, coach and involve our clients’ teams to utilize their skills and develop their capabilities, resulting in ownership and faster implementation.

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