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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.

Ideas come out of the disciplined process of looking for them. Ideas aren't the source of action but the result of it.

Qualifying Ideas
CEOs often remark, "Bring me an idea and I'll build a team around it." This is as much a wish as a guarantee. Unfortunately, many of the business leaders who say this sort of thing have neither the ideas nor the team required to successfully prosecute a new business. Worse, the wish wrongly assumes ideas are the source of innovation and have to be "created" for entrepreneurship to proceed. The opposite is actually true.

Creating new business value is not merely a creative process. Creative people are often fulfilled by the concoction of the thought, the pure idea. Poets, painters and physicists often can be seen from this perspective. Their output is, essentially, intellectual. But entrepreneurs are different. Their commitment is to executing a substantial idea in the marketplace. To accomplish this they have to search for opportunity and solutions, test and size their tentative findings and then organize support such that their idea is successful in the real world.

To further this goal, the intellectual property that surrounds the entrepreneur is constantly searched and modified. Ideas are processed and re-processed, imaginatively applied as theoretical solutions to significantly large challenges. The unworkable is discarded. The promising, modified. Entrepreneurs live and breathe the testing of ideas, flexible in assessing them and determined to find those that will bear fruit.

Thus, the "good idea" is actually a workable business model that surfaces in the process of searching for new opportunities. Ideas come out of the disciplined process of looking for them. Ideas aren't the source of action but the result of it. Business model innovation requires a disciplined and systematic process that is clear, enticing, fits with the work flow of the existing organization and encourages collective action. Imagination, insight and intensity are required.

Business Model Innovation
Great ideas emerge from excellent teams working in organized ways under terrific leadership. The process is complex. But, for purposes of this introduction, consider the following as its backbone:

Discern Trends: Trends form in the wake of change-enabling factors. New and converging technologies, regulatory pressures and social change all provoke needs or challenges in marketplaces. Discerning these trends is the first step to examining the underlying causes of them.
Describe Boundary Domains: Most newly developed and changing needs are not easily or readily satisfied. Domains, business environments where needs and capabilities overlap, have various relations with an organization's existing products and services. Those that lie at the boundaries of current experience and capability, that are new hunting grounds for promising deliverables, can be considered as prime real estate in the search for opportunity. These are "boundary domains."
Identify Capabilities In Hand: Critical to the process of designing profitable solutions is identifying the different capabilities necessary to develop and deliver those solutions. Those "in hand" are the organization's existing IP, competencies, processes and leveragable assets that that can be applied to the new domain (and proposed platform) where the organization hunts.
Identify Unmet Needs: Marketplaces respond to change by developing either unmet needs in the face of new challenges or by creating work-around solutions that can be substantially improved upon. Armed with a full understanding of the enabling factors that create need, the marketplace challenges they cause can be understood more deeply and so solutions can be more finely developed.
Identify Enablers: Fully understanding the influences that create new trends, the enabling factors (such as new and converging technologies, regulatory pressures and social change) is important to understanding the needs they provoke. Identifying a substantial change of this sort can lead to the discovery of latent demand.
Define Platform Vision: The vision of the new platform is often a broad re-conception of a marketplace need and the means of satisfying it. It is an intellectual thumbnail that has passed the touchstone of lying within the limits of "what we can achieve."
Develop, Plan & Establish Business: The fundamental business elements of a new business unit must be planned and tested. This is part of the key work done by the Entrepreneur in Residence who takes responsibility for an individual new platform
Identify Needed Capabilities: The capabilities that are unavailable, but necessary to execution, have to be clearly identified and their development or acquisition planned. Those that appear unavailable or difficult must be assessed and addressed with relentless problem-solving tenacity so that none becomes a "killer issue," capable of derailing the plan.
Beta Test: Real world testing.
Assemble Capabilities: Collaborative work inside the existing organization and outside it to assemble all the means necessary for the marketing, sales, development and logistics of the new platform.
Integrate or Establish Business Unit: The new business unit finds its role either integrated with existing business units or as a new, stand-alone unit. Inevitably, it will spawn adjacencies in either environment.
Killer Issues
Key to all business planning is the unromantic view of serious and unsolved problems. These "killer issues" are those roadblocks to success for which no workable solution has been found. All too often, these are back-burnered so that the altogether more pleasant and satisfying work of organizing known solutions can be carried on. Ignoring killer issues preserves ideas, which is pleasant. But it is also dangerous denial and extremely wasteful. Time, energy and money are invested in avenues that, ultimately, dead end at the unsolved, significant and previously ignored problem.

Killer issues are challenges involving technology, communication or delivery that will keep the new business from succeeding. Clearly, one of the primary responsibilities of the entrepreneur is to identify and regard them with the seriousness they deserve. The disciplined entrepreneur solves such problems, relentlessly applying himself to them, or discards the path that is blocked by the un-solvable. Clearly, this isn't work for dreamers.

Successful entrepreneurs aren't simply people with personalities different from managers. They operate in an environment that encourages them, provides experience and insight while demanding a clear process for developing success. New business development must be systematic for it to have repeatable and scalable success.
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