Ready to Compete Against Exponential Competitors?

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Jerry Cahn, Ph.D. J.D.

Airbnb, GitHub, Quirky, Waze, TED, Google, Quirky and Uber. What do these companies have in common? They’re Exponential Organizations (ExOs) which, according to thought leaders like Peter Thiel, are leveraging accelerating technologies and non-owned assets to have a disproportionately large (at least 10X) impact or output. Today, as Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organizations tells us, companies like Coca-Cola, Haier, Xiaomi, The Guardian, General Electric, and Google Ventures, are adopting some of their strategies to compete. Are you ready to do so?

Here are key steps to consider when creating an ExO:
• Adopt a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) – the aspirational “why” for the business. Start by asking the question “what’s the biggest problem I’d like to see solved?” remember, as Kahlil Gibran said “Work is love made visible. The goal is not to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.”
• Join or create relevant MTP communities; harness
• Compose a passionate community-driven team with key visionary, user experience design and other skills
• Create a breakthrough idea which offers (a) (a minimum 10X improvement over the status quo, (b) leverages information to radically cut the cost of marginal supply and (c) solves a problem so useful that people come back to it again and again.
• Determine how to get it to market (E.g., Business Model Canvas)
• Build a solid business model that drives value and uses the right organizational structure (e.g., team-network model)
• Build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP): test your “beta” product and learn how to improve it
• Adopt a customer acquisition funnel that qualifies and converts visitors into users and paying customers
• Implement SCALE and IDEAS attributes which are critical to your company (usually 4+ of the 11*)
• Establish a corporate culture that starts with learning and tracks, manages and rewards performance.
• Challenge assumptions such as: who is your customer; what problem are you solving; how do you turn customers into raving fans; how do you scale; and how do you drive marginal cost of supply towards zero.
• Turn the business into a platform from which you can scale service/product delivery in other cities, countries and media, by facilitating interactions between players who can operate your platform to provide the value of pain reduction and gain attainment to their consumers.

Assuming you’re already a business owner, what changes do you have to make to adapt to new competitors and established companies that are adopting ExO principles? For more information, read the book, learn more at Singularity University or contact me!

(The 11 attributes use these acronyms:
• SCALE – Creativity for growth: Staff on Demand; Community and Crowd; Algorithms; Leveraged assets; Engagement.
• IDEAS – Structure for order, control and stability: Interfaces; Dashboards; Experimentation; Autonomy; Social.)