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How to leverage disruption to your advantage! "The End of Competitive Advantage"

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

What can we learn from Rita Gunther McGrath, #10 most influential leadership thinker in the world?

Rita Gunther McGrath discusses the evolution of companies building competitive advantages and barriers to entry – and now how they face pressure to innovate not just at the fringe, but also around their core businesses, if sustainability is their goal. The episode is peppered with insights, milestones in business model history, examples of successes and corporate moves that were too little, too late.

TL;DR - Insights:

  • Commonly used strategic tools are built for “more stable times” – new tools are needed when sustainable advantage may be “ the wrong milestone”

  • Why some leaders struggle to allocate resources to innovation

  • “You can make a lot of money on a declining business … for a really long time.” Why innovation may not be the only course of action since extracting value in diminishing businesses can also be profitable if longevity is not the goal.

  • Businesses need to prepare to monetize their transient advantages while preparing multiple experiments to find future sources transient advantages

  • How Nike explored a new business model, Direct to Customer (D2C), in the 90’s with Nike Towns – and how now this may be the source of their future competitiveness – “because an undifferentiated, mid-market retailer has no future”

Podcast: Business Model Sandbox

Episode link: or on your favorite podcast app.

Episode Date: 7 Nov 2019

Speakers bio:

Rita McGrath has received a Thinkers 50 Award in Strategy 3 times, most recently in 2017 as the #10 most influential leadership thinker in the world.

She is the bestselling author of five books and is one of the most widely published authors in the Harvard Business Review, including “Discovery Driven Planning” (1995), which was recognized as an early articulation of today’s “lean” startup philosophy and has been cited by Clayton Christensen as “one of the most important ideas in management—ever.”

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