Jack Uldrich
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Own the White Space

Posted in Business, Business Models, General, Innovation, Management, Perspective, See What Isn't There, Visual unlearning

WhiteSpace As humans we like to believe we're good at seeing the whole picture. But, as I suggested in this piece, most of us are not.

This is particularly true in business. Most managers focus relentlessly on serving the customer, making incremental improvements to core product or services, or finding yet another margin-saving efficiency.

There is nothing wrong with any of these things (in fact they are important) but who in your company is responsible for seeing "new market spaces"? Who owns the "white space" — the space where your company isn't yet operating but, with a little foresight or imagination, could be?

As Gary Hamel recounts in his excellent book, The Future of Management, in the late 1990s, IBM did exactly this and by unlearning many of its core management principles, it has been able "to identify disruptive technologies, industry trends, and embryonic markets, and transform them into billion-dollar opportunities." (Over $25 billion and counting to be precise.)


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