We are living in the age of re-thinking. The rapid technological development gives us the tools to rethink and redo the old stuff in a new, optimized and lean way. “Digitalization” is the word that is frequently used to designate this trend. Some of its extreme forms are called disruptive innovation.
The new ways to solve the old problems usually cause collateral damage. People will be laid off, shops will close and established companies and institutions will go bankrupt or become irrelevant. No surprise, it is the price of innovation. Those, who do not embrace the innovation and won’t dare to disrupt themselves will be disrupted from outside. This is only a matter of time.
Remember companies like Kodak, Nokia, RIM or Blockbuster, which were once leading their industries and are irrelevant or nonexistent today. Kodak is a great example because they were the ones who discovered the digital photography. They have hesitated to develop it further on a scale not to disrupt their analog photography business. Where are they now? Another example – Netflix. Started as a DVD rental by mail business, they have switched at the right time to the video streaming technology and by doing so cannibalized their main business. They were successful and led other fixed-mindset companies like Blockbuster into bankruptcy.
What if you are an old company with an established business, which you were milking for years and years? You know that it won’t stay forever this way, right? Once you got an idea how to improve your product or service to make it better or cheaper – go for it! Even if it will disrupt the sales of your legacy products. Because if you won’t do this, somebody else will. But then it might be too late…