The Kipling Growth Strategy Map

We played around today looking for an exercise to use in an upcoming workshop. We wanted something that demonstrated working from you core value proposition and using an incremental growth strategy. I have been influenced by Chris Zook’s work, which is outlined in Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change and Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times. This is a strategy that I detail in my Lean Scale Up eBook.

By working from your core value proposition out it allows you to see where both your limitations and your opportunities may lie. I have used adjacency mapping before which stems from Chris Zook’s work. In his book, the authors demonstrate a map by taking an inventory of adjacencies of a core product or service. These adjacencies can be made up of customer segments, technologies, demographics and more. They put them in order by ranking and rating them extending from the core in a spoke like map. And as the authors say, “Forcing a ranking almost always stimulates a highly productive management discussion of core strategic issues grounded in data.”

However, we were still looking for something easier that could demonstrate the same concept. It was funny, but we kept coming back to The “Five Ws”. The “Five Ws” (and one H) were memorialized by Rudyard Kipling in his “Just So Stories” (1902), in which a poem accompanying the tale of “The Elephant’s Child” opens with:

I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

The Kipling Growth Strategy Map

Download the PDF from Slideshare

Overview of the Kipling Growth Strategy Map:

  1. The top half of the diagram centers on developing a growth strategy for markets or customers, the bottom half on products or services.
  2. Backward Integration is the supply chain and internal functions of the company that are required to deliver on the value proposition.
  3. Forward integration is your sales channels such as distributors, online retailers, manufacturer representatives, etcetera.

Creating a Kipling Growth Strategy Map:

  1. Why: Insert your Core Value Proposition. If you are not sure, I recommend reviewing Simon Sinek’s book (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action) or listen to the podcast I had with Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s Delli Podcast: The Aroma of a Good Vision.
  2. Who uses your existing products and services? Think of your existing core base and keep asking who complements them, who sells to them and so on.
  3. Where asks us to look at markets from a location-base or the demographics.
  4. What product or service offers us the best opportunity to grow?
  5. How will we do this? Will our value proposition have to change?
  6. When: Each oval represents the current state, a short term target and a long term target or vision. I would not recommend drawing any ovals in the beginning. You actually can have as many circles as you would like. They don’t have to be circles. Just group the items and provide definition and a time frame on how these will be accomplished.

The intent with this map is not to create the next Business Model Generation Canvas. The Kipling Growth Strategy Map is to serve as a simple exercise that grew out of a discussion on working from your core strengths and how growth can be done in an incremental way. Funny, how those six honest men are still so valuable. You thoughts are welcomed.

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