The Ultimate Competitive Advantage… and the Economics of Product Development Variability

Change before you have to… control your own destiny or someone else will. An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” — Jack Welch, former Chief Executive Office (CEO), General Electric.

apple-iphone-xs-und-iphone-xs-max_apple_3Applied learning, fast: Apple just released three versions of iPhone: Xs, Xs R and Xs Max. They applied their learnings from iPhone X. Been reported that iPhone X sales are less than half of what apple expected…and that poor sales means the end of that product’s version…and the proof of that version’s replacement was presented on Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018! Very fast action by apple!

I watched the release of these new iPhones…very promising! I think I will buy the Xs Max or Xs! I did not buy the old X. I recon, I will be an Apple fan for a long while. A win for Apple!

Full SAFe Configuration
Full SAFe Configuration

SAFe 4.5 is a result of learnings by the makers of SAFe…and they did a superb job with this 4.5 version of SAFe. I’ve embraced SAFe 4.5… so did, recently, the big corporations — that I am familiar with — in America…almost all are into SAFe 4.5 now! I will be a SAFe fan for a long while. A win for Scaled Agile, the provider of SAFe!

The ultimate competitive advantage does not come without risk-taking. In the aforementioned two examples, these companies changed their products design… but changing design introduces risk in terms of uncertainty in outcome; to add value, therefore, uncertainty must be introduced.

Turtles stick out their necks — with uncertainty — in order for them to move forward to where they wanted to be.

Thomas A. Edison tried 10,000 times — uncertain each time he tried making changes to the design — to create the incandescent electric light bulb. He did not fail 10,000 times, he learned 10,000 variabilities that won’t work and translated each learning into action. He — like those two aforementioned companies — had the ultimate competitive advantage: exploited variability, learned from each variability… and embraced uncertainty — took risks — to create value. That’s the economics of product development variability!

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