Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners

A couple of good pieces from Simon Wardley on the idea of:

Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners (#1, #2).

Wardley makes the case that a different type of talent is needed as your product/service evolves from inception, through being a product, all the way to becoming a commodity. The differences between these types of challenges is best illustrated here:


Each group innovates, but innovates in a very different way:

“The innovation of an entirely new activity is different to the feature differentiation of a product which is different from converting a product to a utility service.”

Wardley also argues, that in addition to thinking about talent differently, this also has a profound implication to the organizational structure: organizations should form cells specializing in one of these types of activities rather than adhere to a classical functional org structure.

In my mind, this is a pretty powerful tool for thinking about improving an organization’s fit to its purpose. But it can also be a powerful tool for helping individuals find their purpose: combined with the Doctor, Hospital Administrator, Policy Maker axis,  it creates a 3×3 matrix that can help you better pin-point a role that’s a good fit to your strengths.

Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners

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