One of the keys to sustainable growth through innovation is to divorce what you own from what you earn. Historically, wealth was linked to land ownership and he who had the most land had the most wealth and power. Kingdoms were built and wars were fought over the ownership of scarce land assets. While land still has value, it's no longer the only way to build wealth.
On a recent trip to the UK, I visited Blenheim Palace. This magnificent estate was granted to the first Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne in the 18th Century as a reward for a great military victory. At that time such a large parcel of land brought untold wealth to its owner. Today, the Blenheim Estate is World Heritage Listed with a restoration plan over the next ten years costing in excess of 40 million British pounds. Income from tourism, venue hire and filming access helps to cover ongoing maintenance and upkeep, but charitable donations are also required.
In the 21st Century, relying on physical capital as your primary source of investment limits your potential for growth. The further you can separate the ownership of physical assets from the creation of value, the greater your growth potential. It's a bit like choosing from all the books in the library, rather than restricting your reading to the books on your own shelf.
Many of today's largest and fastest growing companies are based on platforms, rather than physical assets. You will hear it said that Uber owns no cars and AirBnB owns no property. Sometimes this is misconstrued to mean that these companies have 'no assets'. However, for these connectors, the platform is their asset. A platform is less tangible than a car or a house and therefore its growth is less constrained.
Is the way you think about your assets limiting your growth? How might you reduce these constraints and give yourself the chance to flourish?