Celebrating 30 Years - The Second Curve

Created on 25/02/19 02:56 by Tracey May


1989 The Second Curve


By Mark Randall, Managing Director

So, swift as a hand blown kiss, the first 30 years have passed since I formed IOR in March 1989.


1989 was very much a time of change with an incredible number of historic events - the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the path for the release of Nelson Mandela, the political change made by the Polish Solidarity Movement, Ayatollah Khomeini’s funeral in Iran, the coup against Ceausescu and the birth of the World Wide Web, to name a few. It's interesting that, in building a business, I had very little awareness of all these events occurring over such a short period.



Over the following thirty years I have been fortunate to make many lifelong friends, work with world-class businesses and have the pleasure of being part of a truly exceptional team that has delivered award-winning workplaces and transformed people’s work lives.


We move into 2019 with huge excitement as we start on our new strategy to generate significant growth for IOR and our partners. This strategy change has been over 18 months in the making but now kicks off in earnest with the new teams in place. The change will be IOR's Second Curve of development.


The story begins in October 2016 at the Wimbledon Bookfest, where I attended a talk by the brilliant Charles Handy regarding his book, The Second Curve. The concept relates to a cycle of development, which is essentially a curved ‘S’ shaped process of growth and decline.  In any organisation it is key to identify this process and time your second curve as a positive, active strategy rather than reacting to events too late in the cycle.

Handy's theory is a fascinating one and is wholly appropriate for where IOR is on its journey.



IOR’s Second Curve relates to a new advanced focus on growth through new business, as well as an enhanced offering for our existing clients. So, after 30 years, we look to a much greater percentage of new business than ever before. This will obviously bring its challenges:


                  How can every project have the same painstaking level of analysis?


                  How do we still tailor every response?


                  Where do we obtain the required army of like-minded individuals?


                  Is it an advantage or disadvantage to have the same individuals at the helm from the very start?


                 What will it feel like to lose a higher volume of projects in these different markets?


We understand our culture and process will require a degree of modification to ensure quality in development and delivery stages for this increased volume.


Whilst these are far from unique questions relating to growth, they are more interesting when put into the context of a company that is starting its second curve at the age of thirty.


So, this is the journey on which we embark in 2019 - another dramatic year of global change and another significant one for IOR. First Curve, Second Curve, Third Curve - we do not exist without brilliant, committed people who live and feel the purpose in what we do and extraordinary clients who challenge us afresh every day to deliver something genuinely meaningful for their business.


Bring on the Second Curve. 

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