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Opportunities

Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune time. Ducharme’s Precept


The effect of change: Opportunities arise through change, whether to the marketplace, legislation, population profiles or technology. An organization needs to promote and encourage an environment where opportunities can be recognized and taken advantage of. All the elements in our model are susceptible to change, either through natural developments, conscious effort or as a result of external influences. The model can be used as an agenda or checklist to look for elements where change and therefore opportunities may occur. What appears at first sight to be a problem, often develops into an opportunity - restrictive legislation on the safety of cars enabled safety awareness to be exploited and allowed car maker Volvo to become associated with safer cars. We know of a local council that had problems attracting staff with the right skills and set up their own training department to correct the problem and then used it to train staff from other neighbouring councils.

B
uilding around competencies: Recognizing the organization's core competencies enables opportunities to be exploited in other sectors. Systems integrator ICL built up a good reputation for training people in computer topics and was able to build on this to offer courses on other subjects such as project management and business consultancy. They realized that they had a competency in organizing and running training courses rather than just a knowledge of computers!


Being first
: Market surveys are one way of  recognizing opportunities. However, the problem is that other organizations will have picked up on the trends too. Opportunities arise from doing novel things. Car maker Rover, took the concept of the Second World War Jeep and used it to produce the Land Rover - a four-wheel drive vehicle for farmers. This eventually became popular for taking children to school in the leafy suburbs - a need that just would not have shown up in market surveys.

Adaptability and the ability to change is key. The model can be used to assess each of the elements in turn to see how well each can change to enable the organization to take advantage of future opportunities. Management should be scanning the horizon for possible new developments. Good sources are research papers, activities of start-up companies, seminars on new topics, industry press and think-tank output.
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