PIVOT: HOW SYSTEMS REINVENTION WILL DRIVE THE YEAR AHEAD

By Berit Anderson

 

At some point, with enough pressure, every system will break.

When the barriers to innovation are weaker than the forces for change, one of two things happens: either the barriers collapse or the need for change drives consumers around the walls to find a new solution, building the beginnings of a new business or system.

Just ask Kodak, which scoffed at the idea of digital and then fell into film-based failure. Consumers went around Kodak's walls in favor of a product that allowed them to take more photos for fewer dollars.

Or consider Henry Ford, who ignored the need for cheaper vehicle financing to his own peril:

In 1921, the Ford Motor Company sold about 2/3 of all the cars built in the U.S. By 1926, this share had fallen to approximately 1/3. And in 1927, when Ford belatedly responded (at tremendous financial cost and internal strife) to changes in the market's tastes and competitive innovation by shutting down production temporarily to re-tool his factories and bring the Model A to the market, that percentage fell to about 15%.

This is not a new idea. In fact, it's so common that there's a popular meme for it: Innovate or die.

This year, more than ever, we will need to live by that tenet.

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