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S-Curves and their digital application

'David's book has been triggered by the digital transformation but it delves more into human actions and interactions. The author draws on his extensive experience to put forth a model that will ferment successful businesses in a digitalised world. He does so candidly and with humour.’ - Dr Theodore Modis

In Geneva in 2002, I met Dr Theodore Modis (he is in Wikipedia), the author of Natural Laws in the Service of the Decision Maker. I was sent on a mission by my employer to review his S-Curve software and consider how this could support some decisions the executive team was considering. Since that trip his work has remained on the surface of my thinking, Dr Modis was applying and researching S-Curves before they became mainstream after 2008. I was beyond delighted that he wrote the above testimonial for

Dr Modis’ work is intended to assist businesses by linking known management practices to the S-Curve principles. S-Curves complement rather than replace management practices. The S-Curve is a simple model and qualifiable with data. It removes human bias. There is a cycle: a beginning, a growth phase, a maturity phase, a declining phase, and an end. Metaphorically, it is like the seasons beginning and ending with a second winter.

S-Curves assist in the anticipation, preparation and decision making within an organisation. They assess the stage of a business, assisting in determining the course of action that has the probability of a good outcome. Very simply, invest in those in spring and replace those in autumn.

S-Curve seasons and digital decisions

  • Spring - “Complement” - the business is in growth phase and a digital offering should complement rather than replace the existing business.

  • Summer - “Optimise” - the business is mature. Efforts should be focused on optimising the existing business and making the most of the summer season. Can a digital offering extend the season?

  • Autumn - “Incubate” - what can be salvaged and experimented within the existing business? What could be digitally trialled to potentially jump winter and enter a new season?

  • Winter - “Innovate’ - what are the alternatives to the existing business? Have any digital players entered your market? How could you innovate beyond their offerings?

The above are simple laws that have broad applications that enable efficiencies. In a nutshell, a business in the growth phase may be complemented by a digital initiative. One in a declining phase may best be treated by being replaced with a digital model.

There isn’t one rule for an entire organisation. There will be various decisions within an organisation based on the stage of businesses within it, and the S Curve concept can help!

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