In marketing, it’s all about the market share: What percentage of customers are buying your product compared to your competitors.
When you are not the market leader, you have two choices. Make incremental improvements to try to catch the leader, or boldly reimagine your offering to leapfrog beyond the market leader’s product.
In 2012, Oregon was 45th in the country in terms of graduation rates. We would joke that Oregon was called the "Mississippi of the West", except that Mississippi's graduation rates were higher than Oregon’s.
There has been a great deal of effort over the last five years to improve the performance of the education system in Oregon. And graduation rates have improved – but not enough.
But, by 2019, Oregon was ranked 49th in terms of graduation rates. Only New Mexico had a lower rate.
The reason for this decline is that Oregon is not alone in its effort to improve its educational system. Every state is doing the same thing. And most are improving faster than Oregon, meaning that, despite all of our efforts, we are falling further and further behind.
Innovation-based companies know one thing. If you are in a dynamic, hyper-competitive market, a catch-up strategy will almost always fail. The reason is that market leaders are also innovating, and if their rate of innovation is faster than yours, you will keep falling behind.
Sometimes, then, you are faced with only one option - one that carries significant risk.
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