‘A slow sort of country’ said the Red Queen. ‘Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’
– Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass
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‘We always eat elephants …’ is a surprising claim made by Carlos Broens, founder and head of a successful toolmaking and precision engineering firm in Australia with an enviable growth record. Broens Industries is a small/medium-sized company of 130 employees which survives in a highly competitive world by exporting over 70% of its products and services to technologically demanding firms in aerospace, medical and other advanced markets. The quote doesn't refer to strange dietary habits but to their confidence in ‘taking on the challenges normally seen as impossible for firms of our size’ – a capability which is grounded in a culture of innovation in products and the processes which go to produce them.
At the other end of the scale Kumba Resources is a large South African mining company which makes another dramatic claim – ‘We move mountains’. ...