Whether we like it or not, we live in a competitive World. For whatever reasons, some products and services sell better than others, and some countries are more successful than others in generating income for their citizens. And Messi is more successful than Ronaldo.

According to Wikipedia, competitiveness is “the ability and performance of a firm, sub-sector or country to sell and supply goods and services in a given market, in relation to the ability and performance of other firms, sub-sectors or countries in the same market”.

Competitiveness, in its conventional definition, is the outcome – the ability to sell goods/services. However, managers interested in the performance of their company (and policy makers interested in the well-being of a nation) must be concerned about is the framework that facilitates competitiveness in the first place. Not only now, but into the future. This is where sustainable competitiveness comes in: sustainable competitiveness is not just being able to compete in a congested environment at this point in time and over the next one or 2 years, but being able to successful exist in the long term.

Sustainable competitiveness is not about the result – sustainable competitiveness is about the framework (the internal management, and external influences) that allows for individuals and companies to be successful, now, and in the next generation. And therefore will deliver better outcomes. Sustainable competitiveness therefore is the ability to build a framework (policies, regulations, management tools, and visions) that allows a firm, a sector, an individual or a country to sustain or increase the ability to provide income in relation to the current and future wider environment and society.