Find your next

• By Andrea Kates
• McGraw Hill
• RRP $49.00
Constant genetic modification is as natural as – well, nature really. Genomes make us unique but the similarities they deliver ensure we remain members of the same species.
Andrea Kates argues that the uniqueness and similarities of businesses can be exploited to inject some structured thinking into the need enterprises now have to find their next big thing in business innovation.
Kates’ Business Genome project has convinced some fairly high profile management commentators and corporate executives that she is on to something. What she offers is four-point transformative guide to mapping company’s business DNA.
She formulates principles that she thinks organisations need to follow to survive in today’s increasingly competitive business environment. And it’s based on comparing similarities that exist between not so obviously related businesses.
The author spent 15 years researching and compiling some intriguing case studies to construct and validate her hypothesis. Her business genome approach is deliberately stolen from the medical science of biology because, to her mind, it provides the most graphic and accurate way to identify and illustrate company’s next competitive edge. The approach “propelled me to look differently at the world of business innovation”, she says.
By understanding and breaking down company’s core DNA into six elements which she thinks all successful businesses are built on, entrepreneurial leaders can breathe new life into an enterprise. The six genomic elements are product and service innovation; customer impact; process design; talent and leadership; secret sauce (the recipe of differentiation and competitive advantage); and, trendability (foresight).
The process approach to “finding your next” is, in turn, based on four instinctive and experience-based steps that Kates designed to help organisational strategists look across industries with an eye more likely to spot innovative similarity and less predictable but more profitable opportunity.
Company strategists should:
• Sort through their options and assess their hunches;
• Match the company’s genome to that of other successful businesses already headed in similar direction;
• Hybridise the business by grafting on ideas that work in other companies; and
• Adapt and thrive by breaking out of old habits and fostering new traditions.
There’s not lot in this book that already focused strategists and ideas-oriented executives haven’t already considered or stumbled across. Its value lies in the ordered assembly of the thinking and, the conclusions that can be drawn from some of the case studies.

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