Achieving Uphill Growth in Established Firms

Kermit King of BCG Explains Growth Strategies for Companies Operating in Mature Markets  

Chicago, IL (October 20, 2015)–Growth disproportionately drives shareholder value, but the path is not easy. Most established players lack the tailwinds that allow "path of least resistance" growth.  Rather they must grow uphill, facing industry maturity, changing customer behavior, and technology disruptions. Kermit King, Senior Partner and Managing Director of BCG Chicago, shared his organization’s experience this morning at the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) Member Summit with, and research into, “uphill growers” and how they have found patterns of success among those companies who beat the tall odds of growth.  

“Established players know the tough realities of trying to grow in mature markets,” said Tom Kavassalis, IRI Board Chairman and Vice President of Strategy and Alliances at the Xerox Innovation Group. “It isn’t impossible, of course, but it requires that organizations approach growth with different objectives and strategies than those entering a new market.”

King has been with BCG Chicago for 22 years and currently leads the Growth topic for BCG worldwide. In his talk, he shared his experiences working towards the development of multiple comprehensive growth strategies including new market entry, breakthrough innovation, adjacent M&A, category growth strategies, business model innovation, and strategic planning support across consumer packaged goods, specialty chemicals, packaging, building materials, media, health care, retail, and technology sectors.  

Nearly 250 of the nation’s R&D and innovation thought leaders gathered in Chicago to talk about agile growth strategies at the IRI Member Summit this week, where King was keynote for the second day of the event. Participants heard from industry experts on the drivers and trends behind the rising emphasis on agile growth strategies, as well as the opportunity to exchange success stories and challenges with fellow members from organizations like Lockheed Martin, ADM, Unisys, Goodyear, Mars, Xerox, NASA, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Kimberly-Clark, Cargill, and many more.  

About the Industrial Research Institute

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is an organization of 200+ industrial and service companies having a common interest in the effective management of technological innovation. IRI member companies span diverse industries and represent a substantial portion of our nation’s gross domestic product. IRI is the only cross-industry organization creating innovation leadership solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation. For more information, call 703-647-2580 or visit