Finding Your Edge
In Their Own Words: L.E.K. Partners Alan Lewis and Dan McKone Discuss Edge Strategy
How should companies start to think about Edge Strategy?
Lewis: We find that the thing that really starts people thinking about Edge Strategy is asking a number of important questions, and really the questions that challenge somebody to really listen to their market and listen to their customers. Are there subsets of your customers that have needs that are not being completely met? Or are there some customers who don’t necessarily value everything that you are doing. One of the questions that we find companies don’t ask enough is what is the ultimate mission of their customer? Companies see their role as being very well defined in providing a product or service for that customer. But they rarely ask, “Well, really what is the customer’s ultimate objective?” It’s an important question because the answer may be very different from what the company defines as its core business.
McKone: Another question that is important when you are integrating enterprise edges is thinking who besides a direct competitor would have use for my foundational assets? Who would pay me for that right?
Lewis: Yes, it’s right to say, “I’ve spent a lot of money and capabilities and resource to build those assets. Is there no other way to get value from them?” Think of Toyota. It sells information on traffic patterns to delivery fleets and government road departments using location data from vehicle navigation devices.
Can Edge Strategy really make a difference?
McKone: What we have found, time and time again, is that when companies embrace Edge Strategy, they grow faster than their peers that don’t. They create higher shareholder returns. When you develop and adopt an edge mindset, what you find is that edge opportunities bubble up.
Lewis: It really is a strategy for everyone. It is a strategy that applies across industries, across time, across scale of organization. The questions that we ask apply whether you are a food truck or you are a global multinational. Every company can ask those questions and find opportunities to grow.