Project Xs- You Are Your Own Competitor

I like “Project Xs.” Project Xs involve taking an external team, and creating a competitive technology to the technologies already in your product offering. We’ve been involved in five or six of these, and I don’t believe I’ve been in involved in one of these that didn’t provide substantial new revenue with minimal investment.

You have two options with how to use the Project X tool. You can use it as an internal tool where you formulate a team inside your organization that has been put together with the express purpose of competing with your company!

The idea of being your own competitor may sound unusual. But because you know your technologies and your capabilities, your strengths and your weaknesses, you get a unique perspective that allows you to develop competitive products and solutions for your own business. As a result of this new vantage point, you see your weaknesses, or threats, more clearly. This then leads to the creation of new products, services, technologies, and tweaks in all three fill in the gaps.

The second Project X option is to hire companies like ours (!), where we become the competitor. We design and develop a range of technologies and solutions to specifically compete against you. You can look at those solutions to see where potential threats come from – or you may in fact, as has often been the case – adopt one of the competing technologies or solutions developed to compete against you.

Now, in many ways, this is nothing but a change in vantage point, but it’s one that works very well. I have watched amazing things happen both with internal and external Project Xs. In fact, a final footnote is in order. Probably the hardest part of the process for most organizations to deal with is the fact that you’ll be exposing your own weaknesses. It is a true form of self-assessment and self-analysis, sort of an equivalent of an individual’s “self-help” book, for a company. But I believe such self assessment is not only necessary, but can produce very positive “unintended consequences.”