A few weeks ago Sony, Sharp and Panasonic announced http://www.hdtvexpert.com/?p=2486 their earnings. Will one of them become the next Kodak.
All of these companies have been seen as very innovative at one point in their histories. But, like most companies innovation happened at the fringes. Whether it was bringing in a new leader, making an acquisition or launching a new, paradigm shifting, product innovation has come to usually mean swat teams working at the edges.
While Kodak created digital photography it was siloed on the edge so that it didn’t disrupt the core, moneymaking divisions of the company. Likewise, those divisions weren’t focused on or compensated for innovating but instead on running their businesses as efficiently as possible.
It happens in every industry. Look at book publishing. Originally, book publishers were all about nurturing authors and building a relationship with readers. It was an intuitive process run by editors that had a “feel” for the business. Certainly, there are a few great editors left but as the business grew it was much more important to focus on the production and distribution of books than it was on developing authors. It seemed to make sense because that’s where all the costs were and a small savings could be leveraged into larger profits right up until the moment that putting ink on paper and books on shelves became suddenly irrelevant.
It’s not unusual. Every business goes through the same cycle. It becomes conservative when it has something to conserve.
And, it’s only natural that innovation gets pushed to the sides of the companies.
The bolt on approach to innovation might have worked in the past yet with the speed of change brought about by technology and the radical transparency of social media nurturing innovation as the rest of the company does “the real work” is a model that’s threatened.
Maybe it’s time to give up on innovation and focus on transformation. From the bottom-up. From the core of the company out. Maybe it’s about transforming the most profitable parts of the business first instead of last.
If you not willing to disrupt yourself first by focusing on transformation then there are a lot of folks out there that would be happy to do it for you.
Suddenly, The Kodak Moment takes on a new meaning.