Did you ever stop to think about the legitimate barriers that might be preventing potential participants (consumers) from using what you produce?  The Innovator’s Guide to Growth identifies four different barriers that can constrain growth…and they may be worth thinking about.  Here they are:

  • Skill-Related Constraints: Complexity keeps large groups from participating.  What if certain steps of the complex process could be made simple?  Could another layer participate?
  • Wealth-Related Constraints: This is an obvious constraint in some ways and tough to see in others.  Is there a way you can remove a constraint, similar to the way Southwest made air travel a realistic competitor to the bus (as opposed to other airlines)?
  • Access-Related Constraints: The best way to think of this constraint concerns products or services that can only be used in certain places (think telephones before wireless).
  • Time-Related Constraints: Some activities make participation difficult because they are too time consuming.  A disruptive innovation like eBay makes it possible to collect and trade Beanie Babies by opening up the possibility of buying and selling at home.

What constraints are preventing your organization from expanding your reach? 

What Keeps Potential Consumers from Consuming?
  • Would another possible category be “awareness constraint”?
    A couple of examples come to mind.
    One, I’ve often been unaware of a program or feature that keeps me from participation/consumption.
    A bank might have a special saving program or a software package a special feature that I am unaware of.
    Two, marketplace invisibility can also keep me from participation in a product.
    I have a client for example that sells equipment into manufacturing plants. You can drive by hundreds of plants and never know the product is being used in any of them. The result is that potential customers are unaware that the product either exists or is available in their area.
    Just trying to build on this list — which is a great one.
    Thanks for keeping our thought juices flowing out here in Iowa.
    Keep creating,

  • Great examples! I’m sure there are other “constraints,” but this is a good one. It is somewhat related to time constraint…but not exactly.