Hedgehog Concept - Explained
What is the Hedgehog Concept?
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What is the Hedgehog Concept?
The Hedgehog Concept calls on companies to identify their core value proposition (or the primary thing that they do well) and focus on that. The concept says that scattering ones interests and objective causes a lack of focus, competency, and efficiency. Thus, it results in getting little done. Focusing on the thing that a company does well is the best method of achieving the objectives of that activity.
Back to: STRATEGY & PLANNING
How is the Hedgehog Concept Used?
The concept originates from an old Greek parable, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Basically, the fox is a smart predator that can gain a meal by any number of methods.
The hedgehog knows just one method of surviving a Foxs attack. While the fox has numerous abilities, the hedgehog only has one. When the fox attacks the hedgehog, the hedgehog is always successful in defending itself no matter what the fox tries.
This idea was expanded upon by Isaiah Berlin, a philosopher, in his 1953 essay, "The Hedgehog and the Fox." Berlins essay divide individuals into foxes and hedgehogs. People who pursue too many diverse goals and interests accomplish little. Those who focus on accomplishing one thing are generally more likely to do so.
The Hedgehog Concept was applied to business by Jim Collins, researcher and author, in his book, Good to Great. He argues that a company is more likely to be successful if it focuses upon doing one thing very well. Again, diversifying business offerings can sacrifice ones competitiveness in a single field. Companies should therefor seek to identify its hedgehog concept and invest all available resources in that thing. This long-term competitive strategy will weather competition and allow the company to survive.
Applying the Hedgehog Concept
Applying the hedgehog concept requires identifying three attributes of your company:
- Step 1: Where do your passions lie?
- Step 2: What are your skills (and which ones are you best at)?
- Step 3: Do the activities related to your passion and skills allow for a sustainable business model?
- Step 4: Are there any overlaps between your passion and skills?
- Step 5: Assess this against your current strategy and adjust accordingly. You will need to communicate your new strategic position throughout your organization.
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