Innovation Tip: Look Beyond the Data

Look at any industry that has been disrupted over the last half-century, and you’ll discover foretelling data in the years prior to the disruption. In the early part of this millennium, the USPS saw a declining growth rate of the volume of mail it delivered despite steady revenue. The same is true for the music industry as sales of compact discs remained steady in the late ‘90s. The music and postal industry giants made the mistake of being complacent because signs of growth were still evident, even as their disruptors, digital music and communications, were gaining steam.

So ask yourself: how is your organization reviewing and analyzing data? All the metrics you track may look healthy, but remember that your metrics aren’t the only data outputs to pay attention to. Think about what’s happening outside your organization. What companies are growing faster than yours? What are these companies doing differently? What are they doing better? How could they transform your industry 5 years from now? Make it a point to sit down with your team on a regular basis to take stock of your industry, its players, and upstarts in adjacent industries as well. The wider you look, the more you stand to learn.

It’s better to push your boundaries and widen your field of vision now than it is to be sitting on the sidelines five to ten years from now.

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