Charles Darwin once said, It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Todays business conditions are tough and unrelenting. The forces of change, particularly driven by technology, are reshaping ways of doing business. It can breed a cycle of defensiveness that takes the form of survival by cutting costs to stay in business. In this environment, businesses need a strategy for revenue growth through real and sustainable change.
Survival of the fittest was a term first used by Herbert Spencer in 1864 after reading Charles Darwins On the Origin of the Species. Darwin adopted the phrase as a synonym for natural selection, intending the phrase to mean better designed for an immediate, local environment. This analogy can be applied with some clarity to the current Australian business environment. How do Australian businesses become better designed for the highly competitive and dynamic environment in which they operate?
There are three elements that are the core of this better design. For organisations to maintain profitable growth and deliver value to shareholders, they need to be fit, fast, and flexible: fit for Asia, fast to market, and flexible in responding to customer needs.
Fit for Asia
The challenge for Australian businesses is to leverage their capabilities and inherent advantages to maximise the opportunities that this Asian Century represents. This will require looking through a new lenswhat may have worked for the domestic market will need to be re-evaluated if the opportunities in Asian markets are to be realised.
The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper points out that the rise of Asia is the defining feature of our century, and that within only a few years, we can expect that Asia will be the biggest consumption zone in the world, containing the majority of the worlds middle class. There are more than 250 Asian cities with more than three-quarters of a million people.
In recent times, there has been considerable speculation about the future of Australian manufacturing, with the spotlight being particularly focused on the car industry. This tends to mask the many resilient pockets within manufacturing that illustrate the commitment by these manufacturers to investment in research and development and product innovation in order to compete and stay viable.
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