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Post Lockdown Resolution: Tackle constraints for economic growth and well-being
by Joe Pacitti, Managing Director
There are many ideas and theories of how to break stagnated business model, seek solutions to slow decline or cross the chasm to reach accelerated growth. One issue is that businesses are always struggling to find the time to move from the day job into those more creative spaces to look more critically at what they do and how they could do it better. They also often lack a simple and pragmatic model to work to, or a framework that can help them step through the changes to achieving this much needed or desired growth.
Start-ups - and strangely Multinationals - may have more time because of their inherent culture but lack the model or process. SMEs probably lack the time and the process, and so often the issues around scale-up are highlighted and much talked about in this segment.
Applying some expansive thinking and ensuring that the approach draws in elements of Open Innovation as a collaboration process to support faster product and service development, is also highly recommended. The whole aspect of growth through collaboration naturally flows when the economic actors include customers and end users, as well as existing supply chain partners and, importantly, a fully engaged management team (ideally with an empowered wider workforce).
There are some that suggest that the empowering of the workforce is a force not just for economic growth, but it also can have significant impact on employee well-being – as well as having a ripple effect into society.
Often the outcomes of any growth strategy end up with evolutionary rather than step-change outcomes. This is not a criticism, purely a fact, and should be viewed as somewhat of a positive. Indeed, visibility of ‘near market demand’ and the ability to release funding to develop these evolutionary products and services is less risky, so commitments to make these steps are readily accepted. It can also help to fuel the capital, both financial and human, to create the asset base for more radical and significant growth.
The move towards more revolutionary and significant growth/innovation inherently comes with greater risk, particularly if there is no supporting process.
There is also a significant aspect which suggests we must not allow the plan to focus on the wrong things in pursuit of growth – that is, make sure it is about the real wins which can be achieved and not the small, low impact changes. Focus on the ones that will contribute to business growth.
In essence the issue is about removing the constraints - real or perceived, and knowing the difference - and providing the leadership teams with space while adopting processes that will support the elements for proper impactful growth. This needs space to review and imagine that it can be realised, making the right choices of what is impactful and what is more small organic growth, and then being able to turn this into a sensible action plan and allow purposeful execution.
So, for solid economic growth we need some insights on how to accelerate the process of developing great innovative products and services to achieve that growth.
What do we need to do?
If we take an approach that looks at ways to mitigate the Constraints in our own thinking and about the way we look at the innovation required to open up market opportunities, we will hopefully achieve positive impact.
If we start with a realistic segment – say the community of manufacturing and engineering organisations in Scotland. Then our Goal is to create an impact in growth opportunity in what is a highly important sector, with significant contribution to economic and community benefit.
The success of any model/initiative and indeed approach can often rely on embedding this in a community of practice – and in many cases one of the early barriers is the need to create and maintain this.
So, if we load the bases - bring a well-respected approach and model into collision with an existing and exemplar sector and community of practice which is already embedded in a trusted and open approach to sharing best practice on a peer to peer basis - then surely the recipe for success is inherent?
For those of you with interest or knowledge in this thinking, then you may recognise some clues from the work of the late Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, author of The Goal and the development of the Theory of Constraints (TOC). You may also be aware that the engineering and manufacturing community in Scotland is recognised as a strong community of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing with the CeeD network.
Hence, with the strong challenges 2020 brought to us - and with some optimism for 2021 - we intend to help build community links in Scotland between CeeD, its network and Goldratt to create an engine and force for positive growth.
We’d like to share a series of blogs and white papers with you, in partnership with Goldratt, which will cover topics such as Production, Supply Chain, Project Management, Innovation and Finance & Measures. We’d love to hear from the engineering and manufacturing sector – to understand your challenges and help set the agenda for the rest of 2021 that will create and build momentum for a real new normal. Let’s build back with new business models and new products and services.