Product and Market Development

We can no longer rely on the next generation learning the new things and taking the next steps forward. We have to re-educate ourselves two or three times during our lifetime. We have reached a stage where we have to keep learning and re-learning if we are not to become obsolete. It is not merely that things are changing in the sense that we now build racks with speedlock instead of slotted angle. What is important is the increase in complexity and interrelatedness.

Products used to be “things;” lengths of slotted angle, speedlock components, and so on. But now products have become a system, a service. What advanced companies do is solve customers' problems. The customer can no longer say “I want a rack.” He says “I want the solution to a problem.” We and our customers must learn to think in terms of wholes, not parts. A product is no longer a thing, a piece of ironmongery. It is what we do in our part of the industrial system to take account of what is happening in some other part (Comino, 1970). Today the Dexion Group has a series of divisions that range, in their product-market scope, from the original slotted angle to electronically integrated handling systems.

Get Beyond Leadership: Balancing Economics, Ethics and Ecology, Revised Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.