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BW Businessworld

Back To The Customer

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Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan's earlier work, Simply Better, was a bestseller, which challenged many concepts in modern business. Their new offering, Beyond The Familiar, dissects a few more ideas popular in the corporate circuit to put across radical, yet compelling, views. It puts up a strong case of how important it is to deliver today's promise better, and then to better it every day. They push the reader to limits by forcing him (say, a CEO) to ask if their company is offering the most or the least, the newest or the oldest, the biggest or the smallest, the fastest or the slowest, and so on, and to pose this superlative one to oneself: Do you have credible evidence that your customers agree with your assessment of self?

Their digs at popular concepts such as first-to-market and Blue Ocean strategy make for interesting reading. They say the value of Blue Ocean strategy is that it forcibly encourages managers to look for opportunities beyond their strategic comfort zones even though the biggest rewards go to the early followers. They prefer to side with the fast follower — who is more likely to establish market leadership.
Each chapter ends with an ‘Idea Check' box, which throws up questions that every progressive organisation must address. The last chapter — Opening Up — lays out the agenda for top honchos clearly. It brings the focus back to the customer. Interestingly, the example quoted here is of none other than Infosys.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 19-09-2011)