Importing and Exporting Ideas from Different Marketplaces

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by: Dominic Basulto

In a wide-ranging interview on business strategy and the particular challenges posed by hyper-competition, Richard D’Aveni of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business explains the importance of being able to import and export ideas from different marketplaces:

“What I am is an importer and exporter of ideas. I import ideas from one
marketplace to another. And I can see general trends that the average
manager doesn’t see, because I see what’s going on in one industry and
another industry and another industry, and I pull them together. […]

That importing and exporting role is really what I do that managers
can’t do for themselves. I can’t know an industry better than a
seasoned industry exec can. He or she has a lifetime of experience in
it. What I can do is import and export much better than they can.

don’t live every day in just one world, but I show up often enough to
find the right information, and I can take it somewhere else and I can
sell it, just like any merchant would, travelling from one nation to
another. And my ability to see those trends and to transport them
across industry borders is really what I’m good at.”

put, managers within any industry become so focused on their immediate
competition that they are often unable to see the relationships between
other industries and “connect the dots.” That’s why companies hire
strategy consulting groups — not so much for their raw intellectual
talent in analyzing strategic issues, but for their ability to leverage
best practices across a wide array of industries and sectors.

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