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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.

Books and Articles
     Back to Books & Articles.

The over-arching challenge is to create a process and organization to identify and vet new ideas. With this team and their disciplines in place ideas can be turned into actionable efforts on an ongoing basis... this provides a steady stream of new opportunities at every stage of development and deployment.

An Overview
The growth of maturing, core businesses inevitably slows, flattens and then begins to decline. This is the natural result of stable offerings in a competitive and changing world. To add value in response to this phenomenon, well-run companies explore product line extensions, geographical expansion and new technologies and adjacencies.

But these approaches are, essentially, iterative rather than creative. They aren't grounded in a larger context which frames new opportunities and enables substantial change. These strategies rarely manage to outperform GDP growth. Such internally-focused, iterative processes result in financial market valuations that are steady state, rather than growth valuations.

Traditional priorities and quarter-to-quarter focus make "low-hanging fruit" attractive and encourage M&A activity. Investment is opportunistic and unpredictable both in terms of the broader flow of new value creation and the success rate of ideas in the pipeline.

The Solution
Put simply, the solution to this challenge is to create a process for identifying and vetting new ideas and turning them into actionable efforts on an ongoing basis. Doing so requires non-trivial commitments at all levels of an organization. This website explores this process in great detail. But the key elements, the essential conditions of the process can be summarized:

Broad societal changes always create circumstances that require new responses. These underlying, "enabling" changes include new and converging technologies, political and regulatory pressures and other marketplace shifts that flow from significant changes in values and perspectives all around us. Organizations have to identify new developments in their environment that are relevant to their broadest missions.
Leaders must view these changes such that they are understood as new opportunities. The opportunity must be framed to serve unmet needs with solutions that are appropriate to the broadest corporate mission and can be projected as viable value propositions. These are practical new paradigms.
A process must be in place to identify issues to be overcome, prescribe steps to be taken and milestones to be achieved. Relevant resources must be inventoried: Intellectual property, competencies, existing processes and leveragable assets are among the underlying tools deployed in developing new growth platforms. This establishes the conditions for success.
The Effect
Establishing the conditions for new platform growth is a complex activity and the work of leadership. It must be driven at the highest levels of an organization with direct personal involvement by the CEO. It isn't quick and it isn't easy. But the result is to create a pipeline of new product and service domains where viable new platforms can be nurtured and launched. From a long-term strategic perspective this provides a steady stream of new opportunities at every stage of development and deployment.
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