In a wide-ranging interview on business strategy and the particular challenges posed by hyper-competition, Richard D'Aveni of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business explains the importance of being able to import and export ideas from different marketplaces:
"What I am is an importer and exporter of ideas. I import ideas from one marketplace to another. And I can see general trends that the average manager doesn't see, because I see what's going on in one industry and another industry and another industry, and I pull them together. [...]
That importing and exporting role is really what I do that managers can't do for themselves. I can't know an industry better than a seasoned industry exec can. He or she has a lifetime of experience in it. What I can do is import and export much better than they can.
I don't live every day in just one world, but I show up often enough to find the right information, and I can take it somewhere else and I can sell it, just like any merchant would, travelling from one nation to another. And my ability to see those trends and to transport them across industry borders is really what I'm good at."
Simply put, managers within any industry become so focused on their immediate competition that they are often unable to see the relationships between other industries and "connect the dots." That's why companies hire strategy consulting groups -- not so much for their raw intellectual talent in analyzing strategic issues, but for their ability to leverage best practices across a wide array of industries and sectors.
[image: Richard D'Aveni]