When your organization has been through a period of intense change it’s tempting to take your foot off the gas, take a breather, and coast for a while. It's human nature to seek stability.
But this is a dangerous move.
Companies that settle into a period of contrived stability become vulnerable. "Stopping for a rest" gives competitors a window of opportunity to catch up, and maybe even surge ahead of your organization.
To rise to the next level of growth an organization must create a culture of fast and continuous learning—and strive to get to the next level of the S-curve.
The holy grail of innovation is to be able to move from one S-Curve to another so that the organization experiences continual growth, and not allow the organization to plateau, rest on its laurels, and stagnate.
Yes, it is challenging and takes a lot of energy to keep it going. But with the rapid pace of change and a disruptive business environment, business leaders really don't have a choice if they want to thrive.
How long a company stays in a certain position on the S-curve indicates how it thinks about, embraces, or adapts to change. Innovators rise up. Laggards resist change and fall behind.
If you often feel frustrated that you seem to be a step or two behind the competition, this could be an indication that your organization is not being innovative or agile enough.
Below is an illustration that explains the S-curve innovation strategy:
The strongest organizations are beginning their next phase of learning and innovation before they plateau, which creates the most consistent and rapid growth.
Here are a few of the benefits of adopting an innovation and continuous learning strategy:
- You will create differentiated product and service offerings. Competitors will be less able to copy you. You’ll be protected from commoditization.
- You will enjoy higher margins.
- By proactively innovating and fluidly adapting to changes your organization and offerings will be less likely to become outdated and irrelevant.
- You will identify new opportunities and avenues for revenues growth.
- You will experience faster growth than the average company in your industry.
- You will be able to attract top talent because people who are smart and creative want to work for forward-looking companies who have a robust outlook for growth.
Great strategies are not arrived at through deep layers of analysis, market research, and assembling thick binders of planning documents.
Great strategies are arrived at through experimentation, trial and error, and quickly getting into action and adjusting course when a change in direction is required.