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Growth Champions: The Battle for Sustained Innovation Leadership by

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CHAPTER 16

Further Common Traits

If inspirational leadership, clarity of ambition, shared values, organizational confidence, and having innovation in the DNA are the factors of which we can see evidence in all of the 20 Growth Champions, there are two other commonalities that we can observe in a subset of these. Although not present in all, they are significant because they are clearly having impact in several cases. They are ‘Foresight and Insight’ and the ‘Return of the Conglomerate.’

Foresight and Insight

Doing the wrong thing exceptionally well is for some companies a fast track to failure. From Readers Digest, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Borders to Wool-worths and TWA we can see examples of companies that continued pursuing activities when the market had moved on. In other examples, such as the launch of New Coke or the GM EV1 electric car, significant investment was made in trying to shift the market before it was ready, although luckily for Coca-Cola and General Motors, the realization that they were doing the wrong thing came early enough to prevent them from losing the farm. When faced with reducing business performance many organizations seek operational improvements rather than recognize that the market or society has evolved. Equally when presented with an unexpected opportunity, many fail to capitalize on it due to either lack of context or depth of understanding into the customer, technology, and market implications.

Many of the Growth Champions have shown the ability ...

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