Five mistakes to avoid when looking for adjacency led growth

Growth opportunities exist at the adjacencies to your core business but exploiting these effectively can be problematic if you don’t have a structured growth program. All too often executives are puzzled as to why ‘agreed’ growth initiatives ‘hit the buffers’ and never realise their potential.

By troubleshooting with leading organizations we have identified five common problems and developed a methodology to help overcome them. Five reasons why growth initiatives fail:

  1. Following the ‘open funnel model’ – early stage ideas are often incomplete and need assessment and prioritizing within a portfolio. All too often organizations put them all in a funnel and winnow them down until they get the ‘best’ ones. However, this is not a good use of precious resources; it is much more effective to build from well-constructed opportunity spaces and focus your innovation where it is most relevant and meets a clearly defined need. 
  2. Building on weak foundations – focusing on something new will not fix intrinsic problems with the business – these need to be addressed first. 
  3. Poor alignment of senior management with the growth plan – an adjacency needs to be framed in the context of the existing business, with buy-in from the executive team; without this the initiative is going nowhere. 
  4. Incomplete analysis of the growth opportunities – identifying the adjacency is the starting point; visualising and building the concepts is then vital to develop a statement of value for each potential adjacency. This is a multi-disciplinary activity and benefits from the insights of external experts with experience in the new markets. 
  5. Misunderstanding dynamics of a new market – moving into unfamiliar territory brings risks, especially if assumptions are based on the current operation; this can lead to fatal mistakes such as an inappropriate business model. 

A focused innovation strategy can avoid many of these pitfalls. For example, prototypes such as journey maps and models can be used to flesh out the initial concepts and stress test them. This creates a vehicle that allows communication of ideas, building commitment to an adjacency-led opportunity at an early stage.

Once agreed, attention can then move to how to turn those opportunities into real growth. This may create structural challenges for the business and acknowledging this early on can help an organization to make better choices and create a sound implementation pathway to support the growth strategy.

To find out more about our approach read our white paper.

Adjacency – Are you making the most of your opportunities to grow?