Innovate or Die
The conventional view of business holds an arguable principle: “grow or perish.” Due to the usual transactional, incremental, and certainly linear attention within companies, it would seem to be true and sufficient, because we assume things either go up or down.
From this perspective, the board that reviews a 5% budget increase becomes frustrated, while management clenches its teeth at the pressure of producing 20% growth. Growing or perishing implies choosing the first and thus focusing the organization towards more sales, new channels and consumers in a linear fashion.
However, the dizzying pace of change imposes another vision, better adapted to our reality: “innovate or die.” There are many examples and it is exciting to discover cases that evidence the massive transformation we are experiencing. Thanks to the creativity and talent found today, as well as the technology that is rushing us in all directions, the following five cases are good reminders.
With only 13 employees, Instagram was bought by Facebook for 1 billion dollars, in the same year that Kodak was declaring bankruptcy. Today, Airbnb is valued over the great Hyatt hotel chain, despite the fact that the former does not own a single room. In 2011, when Costa Rican producer Hernán Jiménez lacked funding to conclude the production of his movie “El Regreso” (The Return), he used Kickstarter and raised over $60,000.
When everything seems to have already been invented, a company like Trunk Club comes along and designs a model where they send clothes at no cost to homes in the United States. Customers choose what they like and return what they don’t, free of charge. In the wonderful world of art, Saatchi Art makes headway, and today we can purchase artwork on a new app with access to its exquisite curation.
There isn’t a single area in life that can escape the grip of innovation, and winners and losers will continue to emerge. Clearly, neither you nor I am exempt. Thus, in the framework of efficacy and results, of protecting the oxygen that allows us to exist at any time, a good rule of thumb could be 75% efficacy and 25% innovation.
Put Knowledge in Action
In this day and age, it is key to recognize that any knowledge obtained at a given time will become obsolete at the speed of light. The fast and disruptive state of change that we live in threatens organizations with mindsets fixed on traditional models or those guided by their preconceptions.
Any organization, be it a doctor’s office or a supplier, a law firm, prestigious company or a giant hidden within a free-trade zone, must understand that we are moving in a world of exponential change.
Whether it’s a kindergarten or a university, a ministry or a company, for a group, a movement or an individual at their job, innovation or extinction implies recognizing that what brought us here will not take us there.
There is only one master key, it is not optional, and it is spelled i-n-n-o-v-a-t-i-o-n.