A big part of my relatively new job is growth: identifying and applying ideas to help our businesses continue to grow in order to give people great careers, better serve clients and, one would hope, deliver strong business results.
And in preparation for an upcoming talk on the topic of growth, I've done a flurry of desktop research on what makes things grow until they grow no longer.
There is as it happens a wealth of literature from biology, marketing and economics (physics and chemistry too, but a little over my head) that neatly lay out common drivers/constraints for growth: physical resources, surrounding environments, random chance, agglomeration economics, and scaling laws, among many others.
But one article, below, makes a fascinating argument: while cells and companies can thrive and grow for a time, they'll eventually die - without exception. Cities, however (some of them, at least), seem capable of avoiding the collapse of other systems, and one variable seems to be their "dimensionality" their capacity to increase their space of opportunity.
Certainly seems worth investigating the other drivers of urban growth - specialization, human capital, and institutions - to see what can be applied to brands and businesses.
What do you think?
The great thing about cities, the thing that is amazing about cities is that as they grow, so to speak, their dimensionality increases. That is, the space of opportunity, the space of functions, the space of jobs just continually increases. And the data shows that. If you look at job categories, it continually increases. I'll use the word "dimensionality." It opens up. And in fact, one of the great things about cities is that it supports crazy people. You walk down Fifth Avenue, you see crazy people, and there are always crazy people. Well, that's good. It is tolerant of extraordinary diversity.