Innovate or Die Trying.

Sean Ndiho Obedih
Dec 24, 2014 · 2 min read

Innovate or Die trying sounds like a pretty harsh statement but in reality that’s what life is all about. Human kind has had to innovate in order to keep our civilization alive and this applies to individuals as well as enterprises.

Here are some of the tech companies we lost in 2014 but this is not just a tech sector problem. During 2014 companies like HMV, Peacocks and Bon Marche have successfully returned from the dead, but Jane Norman, My-Wardrobe.com, Floors-2-Go, La Senza and Internacionale suffered repeated problems, whilst Phones4You, Unipart Automotive, John Cheatle and In-Shops all entered administration.

It’s even more compelling if you look at Companies affected in the last five years that have included Comet, JJB Sports, Phones 4U, Clinton Cards, Game, Borders, Barratts, Alexon, T J Hughes, Jane Norman, Habitat, Focus DIY, Floors-2-Go, the Officers Club, Oddbins, Ethel Austin, Faith Shoes, Adams Childrenswear, Thirst Quench, Stylo, Mosaic, Principles, Sofa Workshop, Allied Carpets, Viyella, Dewhursts, Woolworths, MFI, and Zavvi/Virgin Megastore.

The question is why? If i knew the answer to that question then i would have been a very wealthy man but i suspect that it comes down to one thing: Lack of innovation.

Over the past 18 months i have been studying this field and in 2015, i intend to publish my findings into a book called” Innovate or Die Trying: A guide to co-innovate with startups.

My thesis is simple: every company has a soul mate: for every problem that a large company has, there is a startup somewhere working on that problem, it is just a matter of finding that team and working with them or if you ignore them more often than not they tend to out-innovate the incumbents. The story of Netflix VS Blockbuster is a clear example of this phenomena

Large companies have known this for a while and they are very scared, perhaps that is why the mantra of if you can’t beat them buy them has been successful as recently reported by the economist.

Mergers and acquisitions can be the solution to solve issues of scale and innovation but as HP showed us with the acquisition of Autonomy, success isn’t always guaranteed. On the other hand Mark Zuckerberg realised that he was so late in the mobile space that he spent $1B on Instagram (now worth $35B) and the most legendary deal of the year was Whatsapp for $19B consequently he now dominates social on all important verticals.

If you would like to pre-order your copy please inbox me.

I wish you wonderful happy holidays and a prosperous 2015.

    Sean Ndiho Obedih

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