In organizations, new products, innovative services, efficient and effective processes, disruptive technologies, sustainable business models, etc., rarely happen by chance! All this must be thought and designed!

The discovery of surprising opportunities is not done solely by serendipity. This discovery of unique opportunities is almost always the result of a creative work and a consistent, oriented and people-centric search.

We know that it remains a major concern that business failure is often the true return of innovation efforts and investment. At the root of this failure may be bad ideas, insufficient numbers of good ideas, support for misconceptions, an overly optimistic business model or with serious shortcomings, a lack of execution capacity or a lack of leadership preparation and of employees for the present market.

The ability to use white spaces

Often, or almost always, this failure is linked to the leadership’s lack of visualization of “white spaces”, where, with the insertion of pertinent actions, it would be possible to provide relief in the battle against adversity.

A “white space” is a place where a leader of an organization can discover unique opportunities. When a leader of an organization manages to use this white space, in addition to all conventional and formal management activity, he is creating an order that, although invisible, will improve the readability of any proposed intent or action.

Using this white space means that you are not solely dependent on a set of people, representing only a certain volume of data for analysis.

It is good to remember that the data represent the past, which always leads us to what should be done and not to what can be done.

This search for “white spaces” can be used to identify entirely new markets or can only be used to map incremental innovation in products or services in our organization.

It is true that when we respond to the appeal of a white space, a dramatic feeling takes hold of us, which takes us away from the routine and prejudices of the leadership booklet, but which, on the other hand, can be transformed into passion and energy, as we visualize the path to success.

By virtue of this call, we are challenged as leaders to become aware of our environments (white and black spaces), both internal and external, and to rethink the forms of control as well as to assume an attitude of openness and collaboration.

Distinct but complementary focuses

Whether it’s a small organization or a large one (whatever the metrics used), a talented leader will always find three distinct focuses to lead.

By looking for the space to develop his talent as a leader, and therefore, when seeking to unravel the paths to his organization’s development, a leader at the helm of a team or group is always confronted with his market.

This means that its focus is on finding the gaps in the markets, in the products or in the services, that may represent opportunities to create business models (improvements to propose or empty spaces to fill).

Above all, this is an approach to the unknown or hidden through a people-centered process. Here too, the unarticulated needs of the organization’s customers may represent a gap to be filled.

Another focus, directed to the internal dimension of the organization, will not only allow to identify the organization’s capabilities to deal with new opportunities or face some threats, but also to identify the white spaces in the competencies of employees and leadership.

When we point the spotlight at ourselves, we must be aware that some of our deepest fears may possibly begin to emerge and we will, then have, to turn them into levers for success. People tend to try to show themselves competent even recognizing a lack of skills in some areas.

Finally, when we try to focus on the future, we enter the path of prospects in strategy. “In our view, prospective methodology is fundamental to provide and systematize future visions in the form of scenarios and thus provide the decision maker with the fundamental and possible future elements that are acceptable, reasonable or plausible depending on the decisions of the present …”

Our starting point

When talking about future or prospective, our starting point can vary greatly, from a more analytical profile to that of the dreamer or visionary.

It remains for us to identify what our starting point is, our white space, how we fill it in and where we want to go.


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