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ON LEVERS...


A long time ago, call it '22, creating new niches and time-to-market capabilities was often painted as the realm of the startup. Their organisational ability to develop things fast, and get products out to customers quickly, was often because they lacked the very organisational constraints self-imposed on more established companies.


Fast forward to now and new dynamics are emerging.


Established companies (SMEs, Corporates etc.) tend to have a lot of things going for them. Namely...paying customers, CAPEX & OPEX budgets, R&D, references, internal expertise and external partnerships, external stakeholders, investors, and so on.


They also have ideas based on collective capabilities, combined with potential investments or acquisitions, that could slingshot them ahead of the competition into new markets.


One other important thing that viable businesses have are...levers. Yes, the L-word. Often cited by management gurus to summarise complex shifts, in reality these are tools that many of us in business have an intimate understanding of. And they are far more complex to pull on.


Or rather they used to be (circa last year).


Levers come in all shapes and sizes. Technical, organisational, pricing, cost base, incentives, regulatory, partnerships, culture, management, agency, cash and many others.

Now, the ability to create (generate), content or actions, has been democratised (easily available), thanks to the combination of LLM wizardry, NVIDIA GPUcompute, and the open source mindset.


What happens when the right people with the right mindset, armed with unthinkable automation a year ago, start applying GenAI to existing and potential market opportunities? Here's a piece I wrote for The Copenhagen Post back in May '23. OK, so maybe I pushed it a bit, but we are already seeing entrepreneurs, untainted by traditional business thinking grabbing the gauntlet.


So we're getting new levers to pull on.


Meaning Leverage.


And new levers, which open up new, or adjacent markets, require different dials to measure the business. Speed, cost, incentives, investments, acquisition ROI, customer and competitor feedback loops. All need re-tooling, which can be easily done, as long as organisations can get out of their own way. Doubling down on a traditional mindset is a risky endeavor.


However, the gap between pioneers and followers can also be closed quickly. Witness the number of startups that built tools on top of ChatGPT, but were rapidly disrupted by new capabilities coming out months after.


One of the keys to finding new levers to pull on is by empowering the teams. This is not some cliché. My approach is to remove as many roadblocks and as much debris out of the way of my teams, allowing them to deploy their considerable expertise, and imagination, to serve our European client base better. This is called Agency, and the more you give out these days, the more effective it can be. For the customers, employees, stakeholders and partners.


Often there are capabilities being developed in the team that management aren't aware of, or have not fully understood the possibilities. But once exposed, combined with the right leadership foresight, then you can create new levers to pull on. Suddenly, the ability to jump tracks, pivoting to an adjacent business model, without cannibalising existing revenues and margins, can come into focus.


With Generative AI being applied by teams at all levels to traditional functions, and creating new ones, the availability of new levers to pull on puts a different perspective on the horizon(s) unfolding before us.


It's the start of another week...

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