Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is it Better for a Business to Make Radical Change? Or Evolve?

Learn from evolution and copy and replicate
rather than create new processes.
There are times when a business owner decides that their current model just isn't working as they hoped it would, particularly in the early months and years.  The question becomes, should the entrepreneur just dump what they're doing now?  Or make incremental changes with an end goal in mind?

Research by a University of Hertfordshire Professor of Business Studies published in 2010 states that solutions for many of today's business challenges can be found in evolutionary processes.

According to Professor Geoffrey Hodgson at the University's Business School, businesses which are considering major change at the moment should proceed with caution; they could do better to learn from evolution and copy and replicate rather than create new processes.

"Change needs to be experimental and cautious," said Professor Hodgson. "We have to understand the cost of change. If we look to nature, we can find answers in the way in which biological evolution preserves information over a period. This helps to explain why many successful firms, when setting up new plants, try to copy exactly everything about the make-up and routines of the existing plants."
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So there you have it: You're better off to make an incremental change, evaluate then consider your next step as you work toward an end goal.  I guess it's another way of saying, when making a change, don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Suggested reading ~

Story Source:  Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Thorbj√łrn Knudsen. Generative replication and the evolution of complexity. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2010

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