From Sustainable to Transient Advantages

In today’s turbulent business environments, building a “sustainable” competitive advantage has become increasingly difficult. Some argue that sustainable competitive advantage has become “the exception, not the rule”. And yet in most organisations, strategy development still focuses on building long-term advantages that are seemingly at odds with shorter product lifecycles, as well as unpredictable customers and competitors.

August 2013

To truly innovate and create value for customers and shareholders, organisations need to build strategies around “transient advantages” that are fluid, customer-centric, and less industry-bound. With transient advantages, organisations must move through the product lifecycle more rapidly and more often, with a better understanding of the earlier and later stages:

(1) Launch: identify an opportunity and mobilise resources. Engage people who are comfortable with experimentation and who get bored with the typical structures needed to manage large organisations.

(2) Ramp up: Bring the idea up to scale by engaging people who can assemble the right resources at the right time, without sacrificing quality.

(3) Exploitation: Capture profits and share, and force rivals to respond. Engage people who can handle M&As;, and who are excellent, efficient decision makers.

(4) Reconfigure: Keep the advantage “fresh” to counter competition. Engage people who thrive on radically rethinking business models and resources.

(5) Disengage: When the advantage erodes, extract and reallocate resources to the next-generation advantage. Engage tough-minded people who can overcome emotionally difficult decisions.

Referenced techniques


Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage is a fundamental principle of management in competitive economies. This concept is designed to help business owners to rapidly understand those resources that allow business entities to develop and maintain an edge over competitors.


Diamond Theory of Competitive Advantage

The concept examines the Diamond Theory of Competitive Advantage and explores the impact of the national environment on international competitive performance. It offers useful business evidence and lists the weaknesses and advantages of this theory, as well as professional tools that can direct you to further resources.


Competitive Strategy

The competitive strategy concept explains Michael Porter’s theory of competitive strategy and describes the five forces that determine how competition in industry is shaped. It will give you an understanding of the theory’s practical application and will help you to make more informed business decisions.

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