Hard times need a plan, based on what-survival?

I was looking through some ‘sage’ advice from McKinsey on managing in a crisis, in really hard times, and one really got me thinking, so I thought I’d share this.

“Use the hard times to concentrate on and strengthen your competitive advantage. If you are confused about this concept, hard times will clarify it.

Competitive advantage has two branches, both growing from the same root. You have a competitive advantage when you take business away from another company at a profit and when your cash costs of doing business are low enough that you survive in hard times.”

This challenged my thinking of competitive advantage but then again hard times certainly do questions all our thinking. I always felt it was the uniqueness within, in what you offered, that separates you from your competition. This alters that perspecitve.

It seems this piece of advice boils down to the hard dollar gained by showing advantage within the market place- where it really counts, in fighting for every sale by being able to make a profit or simply cover your costs to simply keep going.

Isn’t innovation simply stripped away here-lost, forgotten, ignored, abandoned? Just thrown overboard along with any branding and this seems so stark or am I missing something here? What happens when markets come back? Maybe you have survived and you pick up the pieces. Do you agree this is where competitive advantage lies?

Perhaps this is ‘creative destruction’ and ‘innovation productivity’ in its rawest form? See my recent article on ‘seeking innovation productivity through creative destruction’ on this.

Any thoughts?

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Seeking Innovation Productivity through Creative Destruction.

The whole issue of innovation productivity is getting more and more one of the key arguments for re-gaining economic growth. The problem becomes the real impact of ‘creative destruction’ that can often go with this.

I recently wrote in a blog (http://bit.ly/mXZjC3 ) called ‘the Risks of Dampening down Innovation Productivity” that with contracting economic performance, innovation performance suffers as well. I’d like to look at a few of the hidden or even darker sides to this, not because it is simply a Monday blues sort of thing, but there are growing implications if we don’t clarify why ongoing innovation investment is really needed and what it can often cost on society.

The tough economic times we are presently facing

We are faced with some tough times; markets are contracting, business performance is struggling to maintain its previous levels, there is increasing argument we are heading for a double dip recession, although I feel we are already in this. Jobs are tough to hold onto and even harder to find. Continue reading

The risks of dampening down Innovation Productivity

With many of the leading developed and developing countries experiencing a contracting economic performance we are getting caught in a ‘catch 22’ situation. The more our firms do not expand, the lower the innovation productivity rate. The lower the productivity rate, the tougher it becomes to improve standards of living, boost skills, deepen capabilities, keep competitive and find those more distinctive new products to grow the market before competitors do.

Innovation productivity actually raises the competitive game

Innovation productivity is actually a sustaining engine for wealth and job creation surprisingly. The more you improve speed, efficiency and scale you attract others to adopt similar approaches. The raise in productivity happens when others adopt improved ways to equally compete, the benefits start to spread and this drives innovation productivity.

It goes: the more efficient we become, the more effective and that leads to increased innovation opportunities. Continue reading