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The Growth Challenge
     Product line extensions, geographical
     expansion and new technologies and
     adjacencies aren't enough.

Three Significant Gaps
     Performance shortfalls create a "results
     gap." But limitations of growth are caused
     by organizational and process gaps.

Growth Factories
     Building the team and its methods.

     The characteristics and processes of an
     "Entrepreneur in Residence."

Qualifying Ideas
     Going beyond the creative into a
     practical and executable model for
     sustained growth.

A Glossary
     Oyster-centric definitions of terms used
     on this site.

The goal is to create business units that are qualitatively superior to those around them in the marketplace, that expand the horizons of the existing organization but that are within the adaptive capabilities of the business.

Growth Factories
The goal of new business planning is to launch businesses that are excellent and have the practical likelihood of achieving substantial success. That is, business units that are qualitatively superior to those around them in the marketplace, that expand the horizons of the existing organization but that are within the adaptive capabilities of the business. These different but important goals clearly combine to sharply restrict the qualified opportunities. For an organization to succeed in uncovering and exploiting ideas that will yield these results, a view of the playing field must be carefully developed.

The Playing Field
New business creation demands disciplined vetting, testing, validating and executing new platforms. Much of this website describes the means of developing an organization to do so and prescribes processes to perform those functions. Creating this combination of people and processes is at the heart of Oyster International's method.

But it is essential to view the landscape of opportunity clearly before applying the resources and effort necessary to launch a new platform. Understanding the terrain is critical because, put simply, it is virtually unlimited and vastly complex. Without a defining perspective on opportunities it is difficult, and often impossible, to distinguish the fertile from the barren.

In its simplest form, business opportunity is discovered when an organization's capabilities can fulfill the needs of a potential customer. But this two-dimensional circumstance tends to create opportunities that are limited by current capacity. Such opportunities are "to do what one already does." Repeating what one already knows how to do. Tinkering occurs, slightly modified needs are met and a business grows incrementally.

New Growth
In order for a business to reach beyond its adjacent, incremental opportunities it must search customer needs in areas where change is creating substantially different circumstances from those of the past. This means searching in environments where new technology, social change and governmental authority is creating challenges for customers. When the world around customers is altered by circumstance, their needs are altered. These needs are new and so relatively unexploited. The marketplace for their satisfaction is, naturally, immature.

ENABLERS are those broad changes which create opportunity and unmet need. New and converging technologies, regulatory pressures and social change all have this impact.

Identifying CUSTOMER NEEDS is the work of uncovering unserved or latent demand in markets where the organization can "make a difference."

The overlap of unmet need that can be linked to new, enabling factors can be viewed as a special variety of opportunity: a NEW DOMAIN where the company can create new value. So long as it has the capability to do so.

CAPABILITIES: Here the practical work of identifying and assembling capabilities, IP, competencies, processes and leveragable assets further defines that area of the new domain where the organization should hunt.

Think of new, creative, breakthrough technologies or legislative change and social transformation, as fertile ground. Think of all these factors as "enabling" marketplaces with altered realities that can be explored by flexible, adaptive organizations.

Customer Needs
View the marketplace of customers who are affected by enabling factors as a special breed of customer. The unmet demands created by newly formed influences exist in an area of the business landscape that defines a new "domain" or business space. This "domain" has the potential for superior growth because it is new and the unmet needs in it are not being satisfied by competitors.

In order to exploit a market, products and services have to be developed and delivered in an efficient and effective way. Generally speaking, businesses do this by applying known technologies and proven knowledge to a perceived customer need. But in the case of a newly formed opportunity with enabling factors that establish needs requiring an unfamiliar solution, capabilities have to be stretched. New intellectual property, competencies, processes and leveragable assets have to be acquired and/or developed to fulfill the newly established marketplace's needs.

Ultimately, the process of qualifying opportunities such that new platforms are effectively pursued is one of identifying known and unknown capabilities. The process requires a disciplined assessment of a business's resources and an equally disciplined appraisal of those needed. When the capabilities are either available or can be acquired and created, a new growth platform can be fruitfully pursued. That is, when the known resources plus the adaptive reach of an organization can profitably fulfill a newly formed and substantially different kind of need, a superior new platform can be developed.

Such new platforms are qualitatively superior to those around them in the marketplace and expand the horizons of the existing organization.
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