Fast Second - PCC - ebook

Discover why being a "Fast Second" is often more financiallyrewarding than being at the cutting edge. If you get there first, you'll lead the pack, right? Notnecessarily! The skill-sets of most established companies, saystrategy experts Constantinos Markides and Paul Geroski, are farbetter suited to scaling up newly created markets pioneered byothers (in other words, being "fast seconds") than to creatingthese markets from scratch. In Fast Second, they explore thecharacteristics of new markets, describe the skills needed tocreate and compete in them, and show how these skills match up withdifferent types of companies. Drawing on examples of successfulfast-second firms such as Microsoft, Amazon, Canon, JVC, Heinz, andmany others, they illustrate how to determine which new marketshave the potential to be successful and how to move into thembefore the competition does, when to make a move into a new market,how to scale up a market, where to position a company in themarket, and whether to be a colonizer or a consolidator. Order your copy today!

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The economic benefits of the first mover advantage have been grossly exaggerated. The companies which develop and pioneer radical innovations are rarely the ones which ultimately end up dominating the markets they create. Instead, the major profits in any market tend to accrue to the established corporations which have the skills, resources and mindset to take niche products and scale them up into mass markets.

With this in mind, established corporations should not even try to develop radical innovations. Instead, corporations should subcontract the creation of new and radical products to startup firms, and concentrate instead on consolidating the results generated by these startups. This is the strategic model already widely used in creative industries to great effect. This same business model should also be picked up on and used in many more industries.

Key Thoughts

“Henry Ford did not create the car market but the Ford company ended up capturing a lot of the value in that market in its first hundred years of existence; Procter&Gamble did not create the market for disposable diapers but it is P&G that ended up harvesting most of the value out of the mass market for disposable diapers that blossomed in the last fifty years; and General Electric did not create the CAT scanner market, yet it was GE that made most of the money out of this market. It turns out that when it comes to radical, new-to-the-world markets, the pioneers almost always lose out to latecomers.”

Constantinos Markides and Paul Geroski

Understand how radical markets come about in the first place

Radical markets are new-to-the-world consumer markets which are created by the availability of new technologies or innovations. Over the past fifty years, a number of radical markets have been created and that trend is certain to continue in the future. To benefit from that knowledge, you need to first understand where new markets come from, what they look like and what it takes to succeed in them.

Innovations come in four different flavors:

1. Incremental—where an existing technology is improved and enhanced. Examples: introducing four-wheel drive into passenger cars or power steering or fog lights.

2. Major—where a new technology is introduced which builds on the competencies and assets of the established companies in the marketplace. Examples: the introduction of online banking or the availability of video telephones.

3. Strategic—where a different business model is combined with modest changes to existing products allowing customers to do new things. Examples: online brokerage, private-label consumer goods, low-cost point-to-point flying.

4. Radical—where a new technology does two things:

■ It introduces a new customer value proposition which is disruptive to existing customer habits and preferences.

■ It creates a new market which undermines the assets and competencies of all existing competitors.

New markets that have been created through radical innovation over the past fifty years include:

■ Television

■ Personal computers

■ Personal digital assistants

■ Cars

■ Semiconductors

■ Mobile phones

■ Video cassette recorders

■ Medical diagnostic imaging

Note that all of these innovations are disruptive for consumers and producers. They require consumers to change their habits and buy new things before they can take advantage of the new technology. Similarly, for producers, the availability of a radical new innovation down-grades the value of their existing competencies and assets. There are adjustment costs involved as new markets are created and existing markets are destroyed.