This sentence was in an email response to me during a conversation I’ve just completed on a possible new venture. I suggested a radical change, and my friend’s response was that statement. Now that I think of it, it is a powerful statement for any kind of future growth strategy. Any entity with an identity, whether an individual, an organization or a concept or idea, needs roots in it’s own indubitable heritage, to retain the true power of valid forward momentum.
In MBA speak, this means identifiying the essence, the core values, and leveraging those as a differentiation strategy. This also allows two players in the market, who do the same thing, to play collaboratively rather than competitively, as they each have identified their "secret sauce" and understand their strengths and weaknesses in the arena. This, then, allows for complementary services.
Let me take the example of the spurt in the number of "innovation consultants" of all flavours. IMHO, the innovation mindspace, to a great degree, has been captured by IDEO, moreso within the context of the larger design industry landscape. Now, as the media flogs "innovation" as the source of all future revenue and survival in a globally competitive world, it is but natural for others in the same arena to participate in this opportunity. However, I believe that simply tagging on innovation won’t do. It makes more sense to evaluate your offer, your expertise and your background, and find a niche to position your core offering, in such a way, that while it is obvious that were one to require a certain flavor of innovation, if I maybe a little facetious, one would be attracted to your value proposition. But to simply sprinkle "innovate", "innovation", "innovating" etc generously, like hundreds and thousands, on your market facing communication, achieves little in the way true differentiation.