Adaptive Innovation | Are you S.P.E.C.I.A.L.?
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Are you S.P.E.C.I.A.L.?

In the simplest military form, first movers establish ‘defensive ground’. The first mover strategy delivers both tactical and strategic competitive advantage. This is why organisations envied by their competitors are S.P.E.C.I.A.L. first movers.


Apart from the military links, the concept of first movers is the adoption and implementation of innovation, the ability to change (nimble) when situations planned or unexpectedly present. Organisations seeking greater penetration into an existing sector or seek to disrupt new sectors are constantly putting into practice the S.P.E.C.I.A.L strategy.


For individuals, the concept of first movers is no different. Whether an elite sports star, a sales person, a HR policy adviser or someone just starting their career, the concept of first mover is no different.


To achieve a sustainable competitive advantage organisations and individuals need to learn, translate, adapt and implement faster than others. Action, not reaction is critical. Technology (and the investment in) today is no longer the key risk that ‘excused’ many organisations and individuals from previously being a first-mover. Today technology is your friend, not the enemy.


Today it is not about whether you can be a first mover, instead it is about whether you have the desire.


First-movers are pioneers.  They manage risk (not take risks) because of the robust, unbiased intelligence that is readily available today. The investment in product and individual development, as well as knowledge accumulation, is seen as an opportunity return rather than an opportunity cost. Investing in technology is not a one-off project exercise, it is part of the DNA of the organisation and the individual.


First-mover missions are not one-off events, it is built on the culture, values, process and execution of successful organisations and people. That is why these first-movers are S.P.E.C.I.A.L. What does this mean?


Smarter Solutions. Driven by diverse human backgrounds and expertise, first movers understand when to use the right tools (including humans) for the right reasons.


Partnerships. Strength-based partnerships (teams) based on skills and experience enable first movers to execute plans successfully. First movers also recognise some partnerships will play out the whole plan, whilst others are partners for only certain parts of the plan.


Edge. First movers always have a competitive edge because the data they use is robust, unbiased and intelligent.


Courage. Nothing in life is easy. First movers do not take anything for granted. However, in executing the strategy (mission), they manage risk not shy away from it, enabling continuous movement forward.


Intelligence. Collective intelligence closes the gap between what first movers know and what they think they know. Decisions are based on continuous dialogue with all stakeholders.


Appraisal. Setting milestones with accountable measurements will ensure the mission is on target. First movers are forward-looking, #nevergoingback is a key value. Success is based on being nimble, adjusting, resetting and moving forward.


Leadership Empowerment. First movers stand by each other as well as behind one another. Collaboration both internal and external underpins the best outcomes. Diversity and inclusion are imperative to successful organisations  and individuals.


First-mover advantage must never be a stand-alone strategy, only the prelude to a larger and longer strategic plan. Did Apple stand still when it launched the iPhone1? Did Ford stand still when it launched the Model T? Do entrepreneurs stop after their first success? Did Usain Bolt stop when he became the fastest person over 100m?


No. Like all successful organisations and people, this was just the start of #beingvisible and #nevergoingback.


How are you #beingvisible?


Now is the time to stop thinking ‘if only this‘ and start saying ‘let’s do this


What will you do now that will mean only looking forward and #nevergoingback?


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Gordon Jenkins

Adaptive Innovation

2016 Indie Company of the Year


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