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What is Breakthrough Strategy?

A breakthrough strategy is that which achieves significant ‘new’ results within the company, generating sustainable competitive advantage. The approach borrows aspects from lean start-up production techniques such as working in timed ‘sprint’ sessions. A ‘breakthrough’ comes when the company confronts its current dominant way of defining business (e.g. customer focused) with a new approach (e.g. product focused). This forces the company to confront a new unfamiliar situation that brings new problems and decisions, meaning it has to abandon it’s old ways of thinking for newer, more active ones.

Breakthrough strategies display that the company has innovated and transformed, and it can affect how the organization operates and its ‘DNA’ such as the core values, missions, and competencies of the organization.

Breakthrough strategies are created by people – not companies. Breakthroughs challenge the accepted approaches and go against the grain, both of which companies are not wired to do thanks to the deeply rooted processes, barriers, and systems they form that prevents change and creativity.

Examples of Breakthrough Strategies

When companies are faced with ‘big’ problems, creative members must find new ways to innovate and remain competitive within their industries. Here are some examples of Breakthrough Strategies that helped big brands stand out the crowd and defined their industries to what we know them as today:

Apple transformed computers into a digital hub within customers’ own homes.

Google made information universally accessible.

Netflix enabled consumers to rent movies without leaving their homes through monthly subscriptions.

Ford built standardised, mass-produced cars for less.

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