Thursday morning I attended Whitney Johnson’s LinkedIn Live talk with Rita McGrath. They are both influencers for me, so hearing them talk together was a major privilege. I recommend you check it out
They both work within the world of discovery driven innovation. Rita’s focus is business strategy. Whitney focuses on growth of individuals. Though both would agree business are made up about people. What they talk about intersects.
Rita’s latest book is “Seeing Around Corners – How to spot inflection points in business before they happen.” At it’s core it is about strategic planning when you are operating in a market full of uncertainty. It came out in 2019. Even before the pandemic. Before the word uncertainty became a universal utterance.
In math, an inflection point is the where a change occurs on a curve. As a result, a straight line becomes a curve. It’s the point of flex. The bend.
Rita uses the term inflection points in business strategy to mean business assumptions change, a change that will have an impact on business in the future. They are signals. Most people don’t notice them when they happen. At the time they don’t seem significant because they may not have a immediate impact, but they have a lasting impact.
Part of discovery driven planning is to train yourself to see inflection points. To look out for these weak signals. To test their validity. Then use them in our decision making and action planning.
In Whitney’s session, Rita talked about a method of 5 steps to be discovery driven in our businesses. Rita’s steps were 1) To create a vision of success, 2) benchmark it using leading indicators 3) identify operational assumptions, 4) identify all other assumptions and 6) plan checkpoints to test/validate your assumptions.
I couldn’t help think that in marketing strategy we do this in many ways. But we don’t always do the full process. We may do some things well, and not others. Consequently, we don’t reap the full benefit. I know marketer’s attract leading indicators. They definitely have goals for what success means. We don’t always identify and challenge our assumptions. And yet, in this theory it is that change in our assumptions that is the inflection point we are looking for.
What marketer wouldn’t want to see around corners. So that we understand how the market is going to change. Maybe we should track less and test more. Hmmm. What do you think?
There was a lot packed a lot into the 30 minutes. I recommend to watch it. I definitely will again.
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