Campus Author: Anjan Thakor, PhD

New book explores the ‘four colors’ of business growth

Many companies struggle with how to use innovation and technology to grow their business. A new book by a Washington University in St. Louis business professor guides senior managers and executives in developing a straightforward and effective growth strategy.

The Four Colors of Business Growth

The Four Colors of Business Growth, by Anjan Thakor, PhD, the John E. Simon Professor of Finance at Olin Business School, is the culmination of many years of research and teaching on the subject of innovation.

“The book is based not only on the extensive research I’ve done on the subject of innovation and growth,” Thakor says, “but also on what I’ve learned through the interactions I’ve had with a variety of companies, executive education participants, students in the Executive MBA and MBA programs, senior executives and others in my consulting engagements.”

Thakor’s four categories of growth, which he arranges into the “Competing Values Framework” of collaborate, create, control and compete, provides a method for companies to develop strategies based on industry goals.

“The writing style is deliberately designed to communicate to practitioners and be highly accessible,” Thakor says. “Every chapter in the book attempts to take the research insights that come from the body of knowledge in that discipline and then attempt to show managers how they can use these insights in their own organizations to approach the challenge of innovation.”

The book examines the topics of corporate strategy, finance, organizational behavior, change management and leadership.

“I think the main contribution of the book is that it’s written for managers and senior executives who are thinking about how to formulate a growth strategy that is effective,” Thakor says.

“It talks about four different approaches, or four different classes of strategies, that firms could adopt to grow. That relates to the four quadrants in the competing values framework that we’ve developed over the past 20 years.”

The book shows managers the best practices and examples of companies that have managed growth effectively.

“But the book goes beyond best practices,” Thakor says. “It focuses also on what I call “next practices,” which are best practices that are not here yet but which are emerging.”

“It’s not very long, it’s fun to read, but it contains most of the key research ideas and most of the key consulting insights that have generated over the past 10 or 15 years,” he says.

The Four Colors of Business Growth is published by Academic Press.