Global hyper-competition creates a market for original excellence.
Walls are coming down. The 20thCentury barriers that created safe and stable markets have largely vanished. New players, ideas, and alternatives rush into today’s marketplace, eroding the long established positions of entrenched providers. The old walls offer no protection. Competitive advantage now depends on the ability to deliver exceptional original value.
Geographic Barriers Fall
Historically, geography created islands of consumers. Today physical isolation is largely a thing of the past. Internet enabled connectivity, alternative product technologies, and innovative new business models all conspire to break down the restrictions and advantages of geography.
For centuries hospitals made their living by bringing patients, doctors, and medical services together in one place. Now these venerable institutions are in danger of becoming 20th Century dinosaurs. Remote diagnostic services, medication based treatments (which don’t require a hospital stay), and a growing arrayof home care and out patient services chip away at the need for monolithic in-patient care centers.
Capital Barriers Fall
Almost every aspect of design, production, and marketing can be outsourced at modest cost. Of course money is still useful but there is seldom a 20th Century prerequisite to amass huge capital war chests before entering a market. Powerful action is possible with small incremental investments.
This reality has transformed the music industry. The strangle hold the record companies had on quality recording equipment, physical production, and access to media channels has been replaced by artist controlled tools that are within the reach of millions of performers. The result has been a broader and deeper global music marketplace.
Knowledge Barriers Fall
An unprecedented number of people are involved in today’s creative efforts. The numbers are daunting. Metropolitan Atlanta Georgia with its 4 million people has more people than all of Elizabethan England at the height of its golden age. (The next Shakespeare may be feasting on chicken fried steak at this very moment).
Ambitious, educated and creative minds continue to flood into the global economy. China is adds half a million technologists to its work force each year. Some of the world’s most highly capitalized companies are now based in China and India, countries with half the world’s population.
Originality Creates Competitive Advantage
What happens when barriers fall? Genuine originality becomes an essential business capability.
In an expanding global bazaar, innovations are rapidly identified, developed and brought to market. Ideas don’t lie fallow. If there is a competitive advantage to be had, someone will pursue it aggressively.
Competitive advantage becomes precious and rare.
The ability to copy someone else’s “best practice” is lost as others rush ahead with the next new idea. An organizaiton (or individual) must create something new and excellent to move to the head of the hyper-competitive pack.
When market barriers fall, originality becomes the key to competitiive advantage.
Lexis and the Olive Tree / World is Flat
- Is there a presumption that geographic barriers protect your local markets?
- How much would it cost for an innovative / outsourced based competitor to deliver the same value to your customer?
- Why couldn’t someone in Asia, South America, or Eastern Europe duplicate your offering?
- Why couldn’t someone in a garage duplicate your offering?
- How much of the organization’s business investment is directed toward assets that are losing competitive advantage?