Seed Theory


It’s autumn in the UK, and time for the local flora to ensure they survive into next year. The previous winter, spring, and summer has been energy creating time for our local plants that has lead to 2010 officially becoming  a mast year, with bumper harvests of nuts and fruit.

For businesses, 2010 has also been an interesting time for most forcing many to re-visit their planning and refine their processes & strategies. Whilst 2011 isn’t going to be the pressure release some had hoped it could be, whatever we do now, like the seeds, is creating energy and momentum to carry us forward for the future months.

How you conduct your business will reflect your corporate essence; and the types of strategies you adopt, like seeds, will determine just how you easy or hard you make it for yourself.

The Wind Strategy

Dandelions, orchids, and pine trees, are very good at adopting this method of dispersal and like them, you need to be able to create a strategy that is efficient enough to travel away from you in a wide area over long distances. A well respected friend of mine Jeremy Epstein has published an e-book about ‘Dandelion Marketing’ which you may wish to read more on here.

An example of this could be your off-site archiving strategy that has low capital investment for a client and can be communicated using everyday familiar words & themes easily and quickly. ‘Heavier’ concepts that are harder to float may require additional re-enforcement. In a seed’s case they use parachutes or wings to keep them flying. You may want to consider enhancing your SLA, introducing a cloud migration service, or look for other ways to increase your Share of Wallet such as SharePoint or CRM implementations.

You will find that general advancements in technology and the evolution of client requirements will contribute to the momentum needed to carry many of your concepts. It will be your job to understand the direction of the wind and adapt your strategy to make sure you go the distance.

However, the wind can be temperamental so it’s important to ensure that wherever you land, you stand a good chance of finding a spot in your ‘field’ of expertise that  allows you to flourish.

Water Strategy

Some plants such as peas and other legumes are very adept at using water to disperse their seeds. This method has long been recognised for the important role it plays in structuring plant communities along streams and river systems.

In the same way, there are businesses who allow their ideas to be carried down within the ICT Industry  and contribute to the evolution of new ideas and channel-driven strategies. For ideas big enough to go the distance, these ‘water ways’ stretch far and wide into international waters enabling a larger network of communities to benefit from key ideas.

It has always been a belief of mine that, like Matt Ridley, when ideas meet and mate they create new ideas for the benefit of generations to come. If a pea plant was to only grow in one specific location, it would soon end up competing with itself for resources but also not benefit from other plants that have adapted to be stronger and more versatile. By creating something that works on home turf, businesses can begin to create re-usable IP and commoditise their products and services so they can be adopted by others on a larger scale.

‘Floating’ your ideas with others allows advances everyone’s growth and development. Where the environment is at optimal conditions, businesses will be able to blossom and grow for the benefit of everyone involved.

The Hitch-Hiker Theory

Ever returned from a walk with the dog to discover your best friend is covered in seeds? Barbs, hooks, fleshy structures, are all tactics used by seeds as part of their dispersal relationship with many animals such as birds, deer, and squirrels.

By creating our own ‘hook’, businesses can strategically partner with other organisations to take them into new opportunities that they would not have otherwise found. The key to this tactic is to develop and create the dispersal relationship for your desired carrier(s) to enter into. For example, an accountant is always asked by his clients to support their financial software AND their technology infrastructure would welcome a service that enhanced their ability to serve their customers whilst ensuring you gain new clients with the minimal amount of effort.

How you choose your carrier is up to you but you must adapt appropriately in order to make it so easy for others to help you. It is not for the carrier to change for you if it is you that needs them more. Whilst shiny berries excite the birds, and fruit is eagerly harvested by squirrels, a carrier like the dog isn’t coming into contact for the same reasons as other furry creatures. Remember that your ‘stickiness’ must be effective in order to hitch a ride with a canine preoccupied with sniffing out their latest target.

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

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