“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” – David Foster Wallace
Wallace in his own words used this quote to point out that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. This sentiment is easily transferable to the business world.
Firstly, irrespective of industry sector, understanding how your product attracts value is pivotal to making effective strategic moves.
Using the Wiijnberg (2004) framework there are three methods of selection:
- Market Selection
This is the traditional type of selection where consumers select producers and value is assigned by the demand of the product.
- Peer Selection
In this type of selection producers assign value to products. For example a first tier fashion brand may make white leather shoes for a season. This style is considered in vogue and mid-tier fashion brands will replicate as it is perceived as a product of high value.
- Expert Selection
Lastly, Expert Selection is where the selector is not directly a consumer or a producer of the product yet their opinion assigns value to the product. An example of this is a doctor prescribing drugs to a patient. The doctor has not produced or consumed the product yet their opinion as an expert assigns value to the product.
Often these three forms of selection interact with each other when assigning value to a product or service. Yet for a company to innovate and continue to grow it must firstly understand what is valuable to the relevant selectors in their industry. An example is a computer company designing a more efficient keyboard for their laptops. They decide to change the keys so that the most pressed letters are closer together compared to the conventional QWERTY keyboard. An innovation on paper, however market selectors would assign a low value to this innovation as the consumer has existing skills on the QWERTY keyboard and would be unwilling to change. Wasted resources on research, development and manufacturing could all undermine the success of a company.
As discussed, opportunities for growth can often be hidden in plain sight. Options Consulting Group has been helping Australian Business’ with a set of fresh, unbiased eyes for 30 years – this is a key role for a consultancy. As a consultancy our service offering is not one-dimensional. Delivering through the 5-Key pillars of Human Resources approach – HR Consultancy, Recruitment (Permanent and Interim Solutions), Leadership Development, Career Transition and Outplacement, Behaviour a Psychometric Testing we can assist you attain sustained strategic advantage through solutions tailored to your business.
If you have an immediate need or perhaps would like a further understanding of how Options Consulting Group can help your business please contact John Gilbert on (03) 9693 9300.