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Five ways to identify strategic growth opportunities

What will be your most promising growth opportunities? Form a small team, give them ninety days, and ask them to do the following:

  1. Blitz the market. Conduct twenty to thirty in-depth interviews in or around the periphery of the market, including fringe users, futurists, and startup companies.

  2. Analyze trends. Look at patent filings, venture capital investment, demographic shifts, and regulatory changes.

  3. Align on goals and boundaries. Have senior leadership clarify what they will consider under the right conditions, and what they will not do under any circumstance.

  4. Brainstorm. Your goal is to develop fifty or more opportunity areas.

  5. Synthesize. Detail five to ten high-potential opportunity areas.

Now describe and analyze each shortlisted opportunity area using the following template.

Key question -- Score 1 (highly disagree) to 5 (highly agree)

  • What problem will you address?

  • The problem is important and unsatisfied.

  • Who struggles most acutely with this problem today?

  • A large number of people face this problem.

  • How do you propose addressing this problem?

  • The solution is achievable without requiring miracles.

  • Why is now the right time for us to pursue this?

  • The area fits our capabilities and underlying trends.

Total score

Clearly, higher scores are better than lower ones, and scores above 15 generally suggest high-potential opportunity areas. The most critical question is the first one. If you aren’t targeting an important problem, the rest of the answers are somewhat irrelevant.

Source: Anthony, Scott D., Clark G. Gilbert, and Mark W. Johnson. Dual transformation: How to reposition today’s business while creating the future.

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