Develop Competitive Advantage

This beginning-to-end process will help you identify opportunities, generate ideas and develop prototypes to build powerful competitive advantage.

If you want to be more successful in business, you need to have at least one reason for customers to choose you rather than your competitors. The more reasons you have, the more likely you are to succeed. It’s pretty obvious. Yet few businesses have a clear competitive advantage in their market.

I’ve created this three-stage programme to help you develop a competitive advantage and unlock more opportunities for your business.

How we'll get competitive advantage

I’ll act as your guide throughout the process. I’ll harness the expertise of your team and direct their thinking in the right way to get the best ideas.

The process is split into three stages: 




I’ll work with you to research your market and identify where the opportunities lie. We’ll look at the competitive landscape, explore what’s happening in other industries, learn about new technology and get an understanding of what would motivate your audience. The output of this stage is a document that shows where the opportunities lie along with recommendations on how we can turn them into competitive advantage.



We’ll take the output from the first phase and use that to develop a brief that will give us the best chance of generating ideas that will open up the opportunity. Doing this requires some research and a good amount of strategic thinking. We’ll then curate a team to work on it and use a number of techniques to generate ideas. We’ll then select the best ideas with the most potential to have an impact on your business.



This final stage is all about taking the best ideas and making them a reality. We’ll select two or three of the best ideas and develop them to make them stronger. We’ll then create basic prototypes of the ideas to help us understand how to implement them. And we’ll use these prototypes to conduct some research to get an indication of how the ideas might perform. Then it’s time for you to make some big decisions.

One step at a time

You’re not expected to sign up for the entire three-step process from the beginning.

We’ll run each stage as separate projects with definite beginnings, endings and deliverables.

You can stop at any time. But I don’t think you’ll want to.


what you get from the activity

Obviously, the ultimate benefit we’re going for is competitive advantage. Which leads to a larger share of the market and more profit.

But there are some other advantages you’ll get from the activities. 

understanding of opportunities

Our explorations will give you a better understanding of the areas where you can build competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Ideas you can implement

After generating lots of ideas, we’ll focus on the very best ones. We’ll then spend time working out how to best implement them.

Prototypes for testing

We’ll spend time making simple prototypes of the ideas. We can then test these on a small scale to get an indication of their effectiveness.

Increased staff engagement

You’ll be demonstrating that you’re interested in the thoughts of staff across your organisation. Which is hugely motivating.

Who is this for?

This programme can be run at different scales, from a company-wide activity to a project inside a single department. We’ll shape the activity around your ambitions and requirements. 
The people who commonly engage with the activity are:



Building real competitive advantage across the company is most effective when it comes from the very top.

Head of Division

If you want to focus on a division or department, it’s always best to deal with the person heading it up.

head of product

This exercise is great for refining existing products or developing new ones based on audience insights.

head of marketing

This process works well for identifying opportunities in the marketing landscape that will help your brand stand out.


Who runs the activity?

The entire process is currently run by Dave Birss, who is also the person who designed the programme. (And that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve looked at this page’s web address.)

Dave is a former advertising creative director who picked up lots of awards for his work during his years in the industry. For the last ten years, he’s been teaching, speaking and writing books on creativity and innovation. As well as consulting for companies to help them get better ideas out of their teams.

Dave has taught at universities all over the world, from London to New York, Santiago to Singapore. And he’s currently developing a couple of courses for LinkedIn Learning which are scheduled for release in early 2020.

He created this course as a way of using innovation thinking in a more immediately practical way to help senior leaders make an impact on their business.


“I don’t know anyone who’d be better at this than Dave. We’ve worked with him for years and love the way he helps people get to better ideas.”

Reuben Webb, Stein IAS

“A positive force in any organisation and someone I would highly recommend. He was also great fun to work with."

Stuart Leach, Barrister

“Dave knows what good ideas are. And how to get to them. Whatever industry you’re in, you’ll benefit from working with him. We certainly have."

Rob Morrice, Stein IAS

"Listen to Dave. He's usually right. He's also the second nicest person after your mum you'll ever meet."

Piggy Lines, Carnage Films

"The work he's done has been outstanding and he's able to communicate with clients and peers in an approachable and friendly way. I certainly hope to work more with him in the future."

Jason DaPonte, ex-BBC

"Dave is Premier League. If you get a chance to work with him, grab it and learn..."

David Russell, Blue Latitude Health