Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is the Concept of Competitive Advantage Obsolete?

I read this quote the other day.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - Buckminster Fuller

I started wondering, what are we doing that has become obsolete?

I started wondering about the concept of competitive advantage. People frequently talk about competitive advantage in both the business and social sectors as if this is the highest goal, motivator, or possible expression of accomplishment. One thing that we know from working with people in the social sector is this -- they are motivated by their passion for making a difference - and not by being "better" or "more competitive" than others.

Is the idea that you should focus on being better than someone else really missing the point? Does this focus cause an organization to miss opportunities to be the best that they can be - given what Angeles Arriens calls your original medicine. What is original medicine? This is the unique strengths, talents, skills, resources, and ideas that you or your organization has to offer to the world. What if the focus on competitive advantage actually distracts from what is possible if you develop the potential of your original medicine?

What do you think?


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