What is the progress economy?

The progress economy:

fixing the innovation problem

firing up growth

enabling the circular economy

At its heart is an evolved view of value. With value emerging from making progress towards a more desired state(s) – value-through-progress.

Value-through-progress: we all seek to progress to a more desirable state. Doing so creates maximum value for us…there is no value created until we make progress attempt. But we likely judge the potential of reaching that state on our own as low. Often we lack the resources to make sufficient progress. However, engaging a progress helper’s progress proposition – a set of supplementary resources – likely increase our view of progress potential. Now progress attempts are joint endeavours with value being co-created. Though now we try and reach a state of progress offered. And there is a very interesting relation between progress offered and progress sought.

We look beyond today’s constraining view of exchanging cash for products that we think hold value (a goods-dominant logic). Building, instead, upon service-dominant logic and our insight of progress being the driver of value (co-) creation.

An actionable (no more innovation theater!) definition of innovation arises:

innovation: creating and executing new – to the entity, industry, market, or world – progress propositions* that offer some combination of:

i) helping progress seekers to make better progress

ii) helping progress seekers to make existing progress better

iii) reducing one, or more, of the six progress hurdles to engaging a progress proposition (lack of resource, adoptability, resistance, misalignment on continuum (enabling <-> relieving), confidence, and effort elsewhere)

whilst maintaining, or improving, the survivability of the progress helper

*supplementary resources, addressing an identified ‘lack of resource’ progress hurdle limiting progress being made or attempts started; comprising i) a proposed set of progress making activities (eg instructions, recipe, process, contract terms, etc) and ii) a progress resource mix – specific to the offering levels of 5 interchangeable skills and knowledge encapsulating resources (employees, systems, goods, physical resources, locations)

And it’s this evolved view of value that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation need when they say: ”one of the biggest challenges…to transition from linear to circular is that it requires…revisiting the very notion of value creation”.

As for firing up growth? To paraphrase Drucker:

the purpose of a progress helper is to attract maximum number of equitable service exchanges* with progress seekers – as such a progress helper has three, and only three, functions:

  • marketing – continuous discovery of ever evolving progress sought
  • executing – delivery of progress offered
  • innovating – continuous innovation of progress offered towards progress sought**

*since service, not value, is the fundamental basis of exchange. Though service exchanges are usually indirect; enabled, and mediated in size and time, by service credits (of which, money, has been a successful implementation – money is not seen as value)
**though not always towards mainstream progress sought – examples here are disruptive innovation and blue ocean strategy

Innovation becomes the regular beat. And from this we identify the need for a progress owner role whilst removing artificial needs for ambidextrous organisations.

The progress economy explains innovation (incremental, radical, business model and more) and disruptive innovation, jobs to be done theory, agile, blue ocean strategy….

So, how are you going to help progress seekers get nearer their progress sought?

case studies

[under development – anything below is likely to be a placeholder / work in progress at the moment…]

The four actionable layers

We build the progress economy on solid foundations and broad shoulders.

We’re informed by a foundation layer that includes service-dominant logic. This leads us to a set of fundamental definitions. And onto this we construct the following three layers:

  • Strategic – What is progress?
  • Operational – How is progress made?
  • Determination – Who determines progress, and how?

And it all neatly plugs together, as shown below, to shine a light on how our world operates. Giving us the insights necessary for more systematically innovating, finding growth, and harnessing the circular economy.

Three of the layers making up the progress economy: strategic (what), operation (how) and decision (who).
Not shown is the foundation layer comprising service-dominant logic and definitions

Strategic layer >>

Operational layer >>

Determination layer >>

Foundation layer >>

The tools

It is within, and across, the four layers of the progress economy that we find a set of tools enabling a systematic hunt for innovation, growth and enabling circular economy thinking.

The various tools in the progress economy grouped in the 4 layers

There’s no more struggling to find actionable insights in vagueness, such as the typical (vague) view that innovation is something new that creates value.

And the progress economy finally explains the why behind many current innovation theories. For example, Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim & Mauborgne), Design thinking, Jobs to be done (both Christensen’s and Ulwick’s views) and disruptive innovation (in Christensen’s true sense).

Explore the tools >>