Essay on Transient Advantage Innovated

3858 Words Nov 7th, 2013 16 Pages
Transien
Achieving a sustainable competitive edge is nearly impossible these days. A playbookfor strategy in a highvelocity world by Rita Günther McGrath
62 Harvard Business R

ARTWORK Tara Donovan, Untitted (Styrofoam Cups), aoo8, Styrofoam cups •and glue, installation dimensions variable

SPOTLIGHT ON STRATEGY FOR TURBULENT TIMES

Each month we illustrate our Spotlight package with works from an accomplished artist. We hope that the lively, cerebral creations of these photographers, painters, and installation artists will infuse the pages with additional energy and intelligence and amplify what are often complex and abstract concepts. This month we showcase Tara Donovan, a Brooklynbased artist known for her large sculptures and
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But it's now rare for a through the cycle much more quickly and more often, company to maintain a truly lasting advantage. Com- so they need a deeper understanding of the early and petitors and customers have become too unpredict- late stages than they would if they were able to mainable, and industries too amorphous. The forces at tain one strong position for many years. work here are familiar: the digital revolution, a "flat" A competitive advantage begins with a launch proworld, fewer barriers to entry, globalization. cess, in which the organization identifies an opporStrategy is still useful in turbulent industries tunity and mobilizes resources to capitalize on it. In like consumer electronics, fast-moving consumer this phase a company needs people who are capable goods, television, publishing, photography, and... offillingin blank sheets of paper with ideas, who are well, you get the idea. Leaders in these businesses comfortable with experimentation and iteration, and can compete effectively—but not by sticking to the who probably get bored with the kind of structure resame old playbook. In a world where a competitive quired to manage a large, complex organization. advantage often evaporates in less than a year, comIn the next phase, ramp up, the business idea is panies can't afford to spend months at a time craft- brought to scale. This period calls for people who can ing a single long-term

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