Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Meshing innovation, product development and production, marketing and sales as a virtuous cycle 7

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on September 13, 2017

This is my seventh installment to a series in which I reconsider cosmetic and innovative change as they impact upon and even fundamentally shape the product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales cycle, and from both the producer and consumer perspectives (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2, postings 342 and loosely following for Parts 1-6.)

I offered two case studies in this series, that were both based on restaurant planning and execution. The first, appearing in Part 3, represented a vicious cycle in which recurring bad decisions acted upon as consequences mount, lead to disaster. The second, appearing in Part 5 represents a more virtuous cycle example where success can lead to further success. But both of the action and consequence cycles that the restaurants of those examples follow, if taken to their logical extremes and without possible deviation, can and do lead to problems. And yes, this holds for the virtuous cycle example too: if their basic business model and strategy cannot be adjusted and even significantly course corrected in the face of the unexpected.

With those examples in place, in order to take subsequent discussion out of the abstract, I offered a to-address list of topic points in Part 6 that I repeat here for purposes of smoother continuity of narrative, where I would:

1. Discuss what businesses respond to, and in the specific context of this series, as they respond in patterns of decision and action, review and further decision and action that can have recurringly cyclical elements to them.
2. And it means addressing how they would respond at a higher level strategic and overall operational level and not just at a day-to-day, here-and-now details level, and certainly if they do so effectively.
3. In anticipation of that point, I cite agility and resiliency as organizational goals – and as buffering mechanisms against the down-sides of change. I have already touched on this third complex of issues (e.g. in Part 5) but will return to further consider it in light of my discussion of the above Points 1 and 2.

I at least briefly discussed Point 1 of that list in Part 6, doing so in terms of those case study examples. My goal for this posting is to delve into Point 2 and its issues. And I begin doing so here, with an at least brief and selective discussion of how Point 2 is worded, and what that implies.

• I raised in Part 6, an important point of distinction between the longer-term and bigger picture understanding of a business, as considered at a “higher level strategic and overall operational level,” and the shorter term and more situationally tactical focus of the “day-to-day, here-and-now details level.”
• My Part 3, vicious cycle example, which I refer to as falling into a “restaurant death spiral” pattern arises because no one there is actually carrying out consistent and inclusive, open minded strategic reviews or analyses to see how courses of action followed, are actually performing. And even when the restaurant owner and their senior staff are all aware that their business is failing, none of them seem able to connect the dots on their own as to how or why that is happening. Or at the very least, none of those stakeholders are able to articulate such an understanding in ways that would lead to remediative change for the business, and recovery.
• My Part 5 example follows a more virtuous cycle approach – but only as long as the conditions that it was initially developed in, continue unchanged and unabated. Disruptive change and challenge to that status quo, hold real potential for problems even then: if that is, this new recovery approach business model (leading a business out of a Part 3 downward spiral and into New), becomes an immutable given and as if set in stone too.
• Ultimately, both business model approaches fail if they are pushed to their logical extremes and left there and regardless of how circumstances change with new challenges and new opportunities arising.

Identifying those emerging changes: positive and negative, and planning and organizing so as to better address them, falls within the realm of strategy and the longer-term that it should be preparing the business for. If you wait until all of this: good and bad is already hitting you and if you only seek to address it tactically as a first response, you can only be reactive in doing so. And you cannot become proactive in this unless and until you step back and start addressing all of what you face and do right now, from a more specifically strategic perspective too.

Ultimately tactical can only succeed long-term if it is grounded in effective inclusive strategy – and that means strategy that is not limited by the types of blind spots that led the restaurant of Part 3 into so much trouble. Ultimately, the best that tactics can accomplish, absent supportive underlying strategy is to seek to arrive at an at least for now least-damaging reactive response, where longer term effectiveness essentially always calls for stepping out ahead proactively too.

I wrote the Part 5 scenario of the farm to table restaurant in terms of that restaurant and its operations and its business success. But I also wrote and discussed it and both there and in Part 6, in terms of larger communities that such an enterprise enters into: there, with local farmers and family owned dairies and related businesses. I stated at the end of Part 6 that I would begin addressing the issues of Point 2 of the above-repeated list, in terms of:

• “Where decisions have to be made that can be grounded in business ethics and related terms and in how a business and its owners enter into and participate in larger communities that only begin with their customers and their potential customer bases.”

I proposed that because those issues were weighing on my mind as I concluded that series installment. I in fact decided to develop some more organizing structure in this narrative, before assaying that set of issues. But I will return to consider the farm to table ethos in my next series installment, and the commitments that businesses make to other enterprises in general in supply chain and related value chain systems. And I will explicitly tie that line of discussion back to the core topical issues of this series as a whole, where businesses need to be change and innovation driven if they are to succeed. Then and in that context, I will finally turn to consider Point 3 of the above list, and:

• “Agility and resiliency as organizational goals – and as buffering mechanisms against the down-sides of change.”

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

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