The Kodak story started as an innovative one. George Eastman sold his first camera call the Kodak, in 1888. He founded Eastman Kodak and was very famous because the invention of motion-picture camera was base on roll film. During the 70’s, an employee at Kodak, Steve Sasson, invented the Digital Camera and called it filmless photography. Kodak patented the digital camera in 1978. The management team told Sasson that it was a great invention but it should not be introduced to disrupt the 70%-80% margins in film sales compared to 3%-4% margins in consumer electronics. Due to decades of mis-management and a huge growth in digital photography, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 19 Jan, 2012.
Could the story of Kodak have been different if it had continued to innovate and renewed itself. Maybe? Lets take a look at more recent companies that had taken an innovative approach in building businesses. Alibaba, Taoao, Apple, Amazon, Google, Grab, airbnb, Deliveroo, Lazada, Shopee have all disrupted existing businesses in some way by creating new ways of doing business using technology. They have all created solutions to existing problems, new opportunities, wealth, jobs and progress. So, if you don’t want to be surprised by someone disrupting your business or realise that your skill set is no longer required, you should start thinking about how to innovate for the sake of progression.
How can you do that? The first thing you’ll want to do is to tell yourself to keep an open mind and adopt a yearning to learn and do. You can read the book, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It depicts the epic failure in his initial try at business and the eventual success. In 2011, Ries’s 3D social network platform call IMVU had 40 million users and was generating $40m in annual revenue. It consist of explanation on increasing value creation and removal of waste practices. He was offered a position as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School and subsequently was invited by various companies in the US as a consultant on innovation. You should definitely watch webcasts, videos related to the Lean Startup available online for free, attend conferences, join a local community on startup or innovation, talk to people and find creative ways to apply your learning in every way.