Summary: Summarizes the rise of strategy consulting as a discipline starting with Bruce Henderson founding the Boston Consulting Group and then popularizing the use of data for comparative analysis to guide strategy.
- BCG, founded by Bruce Henderson, pioneered the gathering and use of comparative data (on costs, market share, etc) within an industry in order to create strategy
- Key development was the experience curve which showed the generally the longer the a firm was doing something (producing a widget), the lower their costs.
- The experience curve was complemented by the growth/share matrix that showed that generally the higher the market share, the lower your costs.
- Thought leadership (conferences and papers) as business development were key to BCG growth
- Bain was spin-off of BCG – in response to “sea gull” consulting model, they worked with only one client in an industry, on a retainer, for the long term, with an emphasis on partnering with the client
- Bain quote is gold: “We don’t sell advice by the hour, we sell profits at a discount”
- Is the job of a strategy consultant to deliver competitive advantage, plain and simple?
- The idea of profit/returns as singular focus seems outdated. Now people are looking for additional kinds of impacts (and measures of them)
- Picking the right clients is key if you want them to play a hands-on role. Tools you can provide them play a key role in this
- Many consultancies’ success seems to stem from creating a useful way to frame (tame?) a previously complex issue (e.g.: growth/share) matrix, then pushing it like crazy through conferences / articles and using it in everything they do (relates to Hedgehog concept in Good to Great)