Would you handle innovation this way?

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What does it take to be successful? Is it innovation, adaptability or striving for a clear goal? Or sheer luck?

Here is a sobering statistic often touted in the success literature: If you take 100 people and follow their lives until retirement, something like only five will be successful, meaning they will retire financially secure. The rest, well you know how it is, they’ll still be struggling until the day they die.

After 60 or 70 years how many companies are still successful? How many are still around trying to survive in the modern world with new digital technology, global markets and brutal competition? Are they also the five percenters?

Two companies thirty years ago were aware of the coming digital technology in film and took steps over time to protect their businesses. One is now at death’s door, yet the other one is thriving.

The one company ramped up digital cameras and expanded its chemical side into pharmaceutical drug products without success. It was slow to change and introduce innovation. Smart phones pummeled its old film and camera making business. This company filed for bankruptcy today.

The other company also went into digital photography, innovated a line of cosmetics and branched out into optical films for LCD flat panel screens. This company enhanced innovation making fast changes. Though it’s been a difficult ride with restructuring, slashed costs and jobs, the company is doing well despite the economic times.

The two companies are Kodak and Fujifilm. You can read more here in a business briefing on technology change called “The last Kodak moment”.


Also look at “Gone in a flash”


Our lives might not parallel the trajectory of large companies but the lessons that stand out are that change requires innovation, doing things differently and acting when we see the alarm bells rather than waiting until the wolf is at the door, breaking the house down.

Faced with the challenge to change what will you do? Wait or act?

How can you make the changes necessary to thrive in the year ahead and coming years?

The techniques and methods in www.ideaaccelerator.co.za can help you whatever business you’re in. Why wait? Go take a look at the articles and links now. Send us an e-mail to find out how we can assist you.

 Stay inspired.

Chesney Bradshaw

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One Reply to “Would you handle innovation this way?”

  1. Thanks for writing about this subject, Chesney. Last night in a broadcast on Sky TV they commented on how Kodak was a major innovator in the digital photography market but failed to capitalise on their advantages because of fear that they would “cannibalise” their film cash cow.

    So, other companies “cannibalised” their film business with digital innovation instead!

    It’s amazing to think that Kodak brought out the first full frame DSLR years before anyone else and yet they still failed to dominate in the DSLR market.

    In another market sector, Getty Images consistently failed to launch their own budget priced stock photo agency, despite disruptive technologies clearly rendering their offering obsolete. In the end they bought iStock for around $50-million . . . and have been failing to turn it into a premium, higher priced service ever since. Why? Why not let iStock be what it was supposed to be – a highly profitable, market leading micro service?

    From the outside, it’s so easy to see that the Boston Matrix is so relevant. When a product or service is destined for death’s door, it’s time to replace it with the latest technology or business model. Maybe that offering won’t be as sterlingly profitable as the one it replaces, but at least it may spell survival until you can figure out a more lucrative business offering.

    WRT Fujifilm – they also struggled with digital. While companies like Canon and Nikon thrive in the DSLR market, Fuji’s S line of DSLR cameras have been functionally discontinued. Their point-and-shoot market faces stiff competition from camera phones. Only last year did they bring out something interesting in the form of the X100 – and within the last two weeks, the X-Pro 1.

    From a digital photo perspective, it’s likely that the X-Pro 1 will put Fuji firmly back on the digital photo map. But it was only a few months back when photo forums were predicting a demise of Fuji’s camera division.

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