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A Glossary
Several of the terms and expressions used on this site have particular meaning when we use them. In order to make reading this material more straightforward, you'll find a glossary below.

Adaptive Capability: Those processes and organizational structures that must be developed to meet needs outside the scope of an existing business. The new functions and structures created outside an existing business system to fulfill new needs via a new platform.

Adaptive Challenge: The hurdle posed by a new social or technical development (an enabler), where changing business environments provide opportunities that don't yield to existing technologies and/or business methods. Meeting adaptive challenges requires extending organizational capabilities beyond their current areas of expertise. This is new terrain where limited experience and business systems must be expanded. Variable by degree insofar as the requirements for adjacent extensions (limited adaptive scope) and new platform growth (sometimes significant adaptive challenges) are concerned.

Adjacency: Domains, including product and service platforms, that adjoin existing customer bases and product lines but don't entirely include them. These platforms leverage some, but not all, existing business systems. Adjacent extensions of existing lines bring existing business systems into new industries (customer bases and product types). Variable by degree in the sense that some capability adaptation often is required even in extensions; more significant changes in capability are required in new platform growth.

Boundary Domains: Domains where satisfying need requires changes in and/or additions to the existing business systems of an organization but that lie at the boundaries of current experience and capability. Often where a significant proportion of required capabilities pre-exist but where others are not yet available. Domains that lie in the territory where both new platforms and extensions are possible and that are new hunting grounds for promising deliverables. These domains are prime real estate in the search for opportunity. (see domain)

Business System: The capabilities of an organization, either existing or planned. Includes the applied intellectual property, leveraged technology, value chain structure, operating processes, brand attributes, pricing models and the combined experience, capabilities and skills of employees.

Domain: A sphere of activity related to need. A broadly defined environment that can be viewed from a commercial perspective in terms of unmet, unserved and latent customer needs. Where needs create challenges for customers that can be characterized in terms of their broad proportions, urgency, general value and, conversely, can be viewed as posing a variety of requirements for their fulfillment. New and promising domains are defined by newly emerging, enabling factors. Note: domains are often collections of related needs that can be addressed by a variety of different platforms. (see platform)

EIR: (Entrepreneur in Residence) The leader of a team devoted to exploring and developing a specific new platform. The connecting tissue between the "core" pipeline of idea initiation and validation and the variable team that executes product lines. Responsible for vetting and validation, capabilities studies and solutions, business model and plan development and the mobilization of resources to build a market for the new platform.

Enabling Factors: Unlike the classic definition of "enable," it is used here to describe those provocative factors that contribute to creating need, rather than fulfilling it. Enablers include new and converging technologies, regulatory pressures and social change.

Engaged CEOs: Leaders who are deeply involved in their organizations, communicating many layers deep into them. Who observe widely and operate as mentors, advisors and enablers. They see their roles as aggregating insight, redistributing it and mobilizing the resources necessary to exploit that insight.

Enterprise Gap: This is the gap between the sum of the forecasted business unit growth and the overall enterprise target. This is generally described as a financial shortfall, but the root cause is a gap in enterprise structures, capabilities and processes to identify and exploit new growth platforms.

Extension: See Product Line Extension.

Geographical Expansion: Proliferation within a territory (Starbucks) or global expansion (Coca Cola).

Growth Factory: A growth factory is the system of new organizational capabilities and new processes which together create the conditions that lead to identifying and exploiting new growth platforms.

Iterative Growth: Growth that is largely repetitive, that involves existing business systems, customer needs and marketplaces. The most restrictive form of growth, even less expansive than adjacent growth. One evolutionary step (from a new platform development perspective) above core asset maximization. (see adjacency)

Killer Issues: Significant unsolved problems that threaten the success of a new platform. Roadblocks to success including challenges involving technology, communication or delivery that will keep the new business from succeeding.

NPG Organization: The new organization within an enterprise whose mission it is to generate new, significant and workable platform ideas, enable their testing, development and execution and do so on an ongoing basis.

Opportunity Space: This is the space defined by the intersection of enablers, unmet needs and core capabilities.

Orphan Business: An orphan business is a small operating business unit which does not seamlessly integrate into a larger business sector. These are important businesses because they often contain some of the capabilities required to exploit a new growth platform.

Platform: A broad but well-defined approach to customer needs in the form of a business solution. Not, per se, a new product, service or business; it is a platform on which to put a suite of products, services and multiple businesses.

Presiding CEOs: Tradition leaders who manage their organizations through authority and fiat. Who combine hierarchal organizations of able managers, efficient business systems, established markets and proven intellectual property to exploit opportunities. This approach produces growth that is adjacent to current success and which is, largely, a re-iteration of past accomplishments.

Process Gap: See Enterprise Gap.

Product Line Extensions: Logical extensions of existing products that provide similar products, addressing the same or similar needs among members of the currently exploited marketplace.

Variable Team: The group tasked with the sales, marketing, product development and logistics of new platforms.

Vetting: To subject to thorough examination or evaluation. To study and test an idea to discover its potential scope, system, organization and capabilities requirements and value its return on the investment required to execute the idea in the marketplace.

Walnuts: Apparently promising ideas that encounter unresolved killer issues but that may yield to future capabilities expansion in the form of new intellectual property, technology or other changes. Something to be put aside, so that it doesn't take up time and energy, for reconsideration later.

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