The Titillation Of Disruptive Innovation: The More Things Change, The More They Don’t.

why successful companies fail

How companies can hold inviolate certain assumptions are interesting. In fact disturbing. How an entire group can do so should be down right demeaning. Take for instance, the companies named below. Sadly when using such examples we only note well known firms. There are however numerous small businesses, governments etc who could have dissuaded lack luster performances by better management had they been proactive.

I watch businesses titillate themselves with the fanciful notion of innovating. They do so half heatedly in the same fashion in which they attempt to lead without intent of winning. It is an absurd arrogance of leadership prevailing upon title rather than duty. An easy perch for those hoping instead of leading. Below are stark examples from HBR:

AOL, Nokia, RIM, Kodak, DEC. All the same story: once-great companies that suffered disruption. In business, if you’re not listening to the right customers, it can all disappear before you realize what’s happening.

Many modern businesses take stock in the reality of disruptive innovation and try to react accordingly. In the software industry, giants like Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, and IBM have all invested heavily in the cloud technologies that are disrupting software. In car rentals, firms like Hertz and Enterprise are making bets on car-sharing operations. Even dominant businesses like Amazon and Facebook spend enormous sums of money to snatch up and independently operate disruptive businesses like Quidsi and Whatsapp. But in almost all of these situations, the threat is clear and present by the time an investment is made.

So, the question is, why — with a strong understanding of the dynamics of disruption — are we still so slow to move?

Pundits and managers alike readily cite reasons including the stresses of business model innovation or the difficulty of making small experimental investments inside the four walls of an established organization. I don’t believe these answers.[…]

via The Effect of Listening: The Essentials Of Proactive Management.

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Organizational Development

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