Grow a New Organization 10x

Growth - Strategy
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David L Schutt Headshot

Working with Sequence our organization grew 10x, expanded our consortia 5x and entered entirely new and emerging industries within three years.

David Schutt,PhDCEO, SAE International

The Problem

SAE International makes its mission to serve the entire industry, automotive, aerospace, and off-road. They sought to make a much larger impact on the industry as a whole than they did as a membership organization, best known for writing standards.

At the same time, SAE had a small portfolio of niche affiliate companies serving manufacturers that had never added up to much. They sought new and more diverse sources of revenue for the enterprise.

The question was how could they use their very small B2B footprint to build something that would have an outsize impact on the industry and generate new income at the same time?

SAE chose Sequence because of our expertise in growth strategy for associations, our creative approach to defining innovative strategies that stretched thinking, and record of launching new business concepts that work.

Our Approach

The most successful growth strategies start with what the market needs but does not have and what unique assets and capabilities you have to offer. The exercise is called Way to Play. It points precisely to places where you have a Right to Win.

We did primary research with industry leaders. We learned that what they needed were spaces where they could collaborate on pre-competitive technologies legally and confidentially. A vast number of emerging technologies, from autonomous vehicles to cybersecurity, required industry-wide agreement on principles and best practices. Yet this was very difficult to do.

Our Way to Play process revealed that one of SAE’s greatest strengths was the power to convene. To bring players across the industry together in ways they would not meet otherwise. We tested many different business models and market positions that would serve the industry and stay on-mission and on-brand for SAE.

The solution was SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC). It is a 501(c)(6) that operates alongside the membership organization. It provides a neutral venue for public and private organizations to come together and collaborate on shared industry challenges.

To help bring those innovations to life, SAE ITC provides a full range of legal, marketing, data, and launch services that accelerate innovations.

The Way to Play process was right for SAE because it helped them clearly see where there was a real business opportunity and where they had a competitive advantage. Understanding where they had the right to win made the big, risky decisions obvious. It gave them a roadmap they believed in that the confidence to follow it.

The Result

  • ITC is a $6 million business. It has repaid all of its start-up costs and generates net income for the SAE enterprise.
  • It now houses thirteen industry consortia addressing key industry challenges, from automated vehicle safety to aerospace engine quality.
  • SAE has completed ten strategic acquisitions under ITC. All of them are successful.
  • It is a magnet for the largest players in the industry, from the automotive Big 3 to the Department of Defense.

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