Changing Threats to Opportunities can Lead to Game-Changing Innovation
In strategic planning, we consider opportunities, and scary things, like threats. Some of the best innovations come from changing threats to opportunities. Game-changing innovation that transforms an industry and stymies the competition can come from serious threats.
Examples of changing threats to opportunities
First, one client, concerned about government regulations rising from environmental concerns, decided to develop an organic alternative to chemical products. The result? They increased their market share by over 30%. Second, Apple Computer, faced with irrelevance as a minor player, began innovating in other devices. The result? That took the technology into new applications. Finally, McDonald’s, facing the decline of their core menu due to health concerns, began offering coffee and healthier products. Each of these innovations changed the competitive environment in their markets, although each was a response to a perceived threat.
Far too often, we simply avoid thinking about threats
It seems like it makes sense to do this, because threats are scary and, often, depressing. The threat, however, doesn’t go away just because you don’t think about it. Furthermore, hoping it’s not going to be a problem isn’t much of a strategy. At least consider the probability and impact of each and deal with the high impact/probability threats. Alternatively, what if you considered changing threats to opportunities? For example, if technology threatens your current distribution network, how can you leapfrog past the threat? Furthermore, if trade issues seem to be getting bigger, can you come up with a way to bypass them? This type of thinking requires that you give up any fixed idea about who you are and what you do. As a result, it can create bigger opportunities by allowing you to enter areas that your competitors won’t consider.
Obviously, timing is everything with this
Move too soon, and you’ll have the solution that would work a decade from now, but not today. Move too slowly, and your competitors – or someone from outside your industry – could end up eating your lunch. In conclusion, it’s always worth considering changing threats to opportunities before your competition does.
What scary threats can you turn into opportunities for innovation? Attend our next seminar on Simplified Strategic Planning to learn more about changing threats to opportunities and other aspects of strategic planning.
M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org