Formula for Breakthrough Growth

Recently, I had the honor to being one of the Sno-Isle Libraries TEDx Talk speakers. The experience was, and continues to be, remarkable—one that I put into the “breakthrough” category. Here is how you can put the formula for breakthrough growth to work in your organization.

First, what is a breakthrough growth? For me it’s generating a newsworthy accomplishment, one that significantly accelerates the growth of your business. What makes that possible? Vision + Insight + Innovation = Breakthrough Growth. Let’s breakdown the three elements of this formula.

Vision…by vision, what I mean is Defining Your Preferred Future. A vision establishes where you are going, what you want to accomplish…it’s your Northstar, and It should be aspirational.

Fearing the Soviet’s would win the space-race, JFK announced, in 1961, his vision to put an American on the moon within the decade. That audacious vision led to one of the most amazing accomplishments in the 20th Century.

Insight…Mia Angelo said, “when we know better we can do better.” Insight is about “knowing better.” Gaining insight involves Gathering the Relevant Information.

We gather information on our client’s customers and competitors. We bridge their information gap. Recently we worked with an IT company that was convinced their customers cared most about network administration. The insight our customer research exposed was, the customers weren’t worried about their networks; their greatest fear was security and data breaches. Had we innovated a go-to-market strategy without that critical insight…we would have put our client on the wrong path. Insight puts you on the right path.

Innovation…something new, the first of its kind; more often, improving on something that already exists…either way, innovation (and renovation) are about Creating a Better Experience.

The original I-Phone was introduced in 2007…it was the first of its kind. A year later, Apple improved on their existing product by releasing the 3G. Both products generated breakthrough growth for the company. And Apple is known for “continuous innovation.” Since 2007 they’ve introduced 44 different versions of the product. My point is that innovation and breakthroughs lead to other breakthrough opportunities. To achieve a breakthrough, you need to innovate by doing something new, special or different.

So, how do the three elements of this formula work together, and is sequence important? Yes, the sequence is important…vision inspires insight…insight informs innovation.

Here is a simple three-step exercise to apply this formula in your business.

Step 1: Bring your leadership team together and discuss your vision. Talk about the aspirations you have, where you want to go, and what you want your organization to look like in ten years. Brainstorm, narrow down and frame a short and simple vision statement that articulates your preferred future.

Step 2: Discuss the information you might be lacking to achieve your vision. What insights will put you on the right path and inform your innovation. Do you have the necessary data on your company’s present situation, industry trends, customer values and competitor intelligence to make informed decisions?

Step 3: Armed with a vision, and real-time insight, your team should talk about what you can do that is new, special or different that can distinguish your organization from others in a way that your target market will value. Your innovation doesn’t need to be “novel science,” it may simply be optimizing or bundling your existing products or services in a way that will create a better experience for your customers.

In summary, establish a vision to focus your people and priorities, gather insights that will put you on the right path, and develop an innovation that will set your company apart.

This may seem a bit over simplified; however, if you bring your team together and have these three conversations—in sequence—you may be pleasantly surprise about what you come up with. I’ve facilitated and witnessed it happen many many times…the formula for breakthrough growth works!

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