Adjacency-led growth – knowing who you are

Over a decade ago Chris Zook and James Allen wrote about “Growing outside the core”. They outlined six modalities of growth and described some heuristic rules that applied when exploring these modalities.

While there are shining examples of applications of these guidelines, there are still many companies that either fail to grow successfully outside their core, and yet more that don’t know where to begin.

I find Zook’s comment “Most strategic errors come from inadequate self-awareness of the core…” particularly enlightening. It cuts to the heart of many of the issues that executive teams struggle with dealing with growth outside the core of their business.

For many large companies the mechanics of dealing with this “…self-awareness…” requires a significant budget, outside advisors and a journey that only sometimes leads to increased revenues, and greater returns for shareholders.

For smaller companies without access to these resources and with more modest budgets, there is a need to create a more practical pathway to describing growth opportunities – a pathway that both addresses the more strategic ‘self awareness…’ factor, plus moving into a practical description for the adjacency opportunities that might exist.

The process outlined in the figure attached sets out an approach which links broadening of strategic vision (to include new adjacencies), description of practical opportunities for growth (within the adjacencies), and ideation and visualization of specific concepts to drive growth.

You’ll see in these diagrams that it is important to link strategy through to concrete ideas, and connect ideas into a strategic context. It seems simple, and yet many miss out the steps along the way.

Making a success of this requires an interesting combination of strategic, innovative and design thinking, something that nu Angle and Bally Design have been delivering for several years.

If you want to identify strategic adjacencies, wonder about how to turn them into new business opportunities or need to develop innovations that make these new businesses a success – get in touch.

A broader description of this approach can be found in our white paper Are you making the most of your opportunities to grow?