Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology

An HBR article inviting to reflect on what actually happened to Kodak as it tumbled from its top position to relative insignificance. It dispels common labels such as ‘myopia’ and ‘lack of investment in emergent technologies’ to focus on the core problem:

Companies often see the disruptive forces affecting their industry. They frequently divert sufficient resources to participate in emerging markets. Their failure is usually an inability to truly embrace the new business models the disruptive change opens up.

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A Tool to Map Your Next Digital Initiative

An article from the Harvard Business Review outlining a framework to ensure a successful digital investment. It once again stresses the fact that business objectives and benefits ought to be shaping the role of technology, not the other way around.

…you work backwards, …from the agreed investment objectives and the expected benefits, and map the required changes to structures, processes, work practices, and how staff would need to work through to the new technology necessary to enable and sustain those changes. To ensure the digital transformation initiative has momentum, the investment objectives should be closely aligned to critical business drivers.

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10 Principles of Strategic Leadership

A factual, research-based take on who ‘strategic leaders’ – those ‘effective at leading transformations’ – are, and what distinct qualities they possess.

Based on a 2015 PwC study of 6,000 senior executives, the research found that only 8% of the respondents turned out to be these strategic leaders, an increase of just 1% compared to the previous survey of 10 years ago. In part, this is because

In many companies, the individuals who make their way to the top of the hierarchy do so by demonstrating superlative performance, persistent ambition, and the ability to solve the problems of the moment. These are valuable traits, but they are not the skills of a strategic leader.

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What is a Business Model?

This morning, I had a very fruitful conversation with a colleague in which we discussed at length what a ‘business model’ is, what it covers, and what it does not cover. We did not reach  a definitive conclusion and so decided to come back to this conversation at a later time.

Well, we are not alone seeing ‘business model’ in somewhat different terms. In fact, this article from the Harward Business Review suggest that a ‘business model’ is…

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Why A New Generation Of On-Demand Businesses Rejected The Uber Model | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Continuing the Uber’s business model discussion, this article provides practical examples of startups that have ‘chosen to create a mobile-enabled service business rather than just a technology layer’.

“There is no doubt to us that if we want to be successful, and if we want to be in the cleaning of clothes business, then we have to own that business,” says one of the articles interviewees. “It’s very difficult to get the kind of consistent quality that you need to provide to keep customers without doing it yourself.”

I too agree that it is better for business to own more of its core process, not less. And what do you think?

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What Is Disruptive Innovation?

A ‘back-to-basics’ article from the Harvard Business Review on disruptive innovation. Concerned that:

In our experience, too many people who speak of “disruption” have not read a serious book or article on the subject. Too frequently, they use the term loosely to invoke the concept of innovation in support of whatever it is they wish to do. Many researchers, writers, and consultants use “disruptive innovation” to describe any situation in which an industry is shaken up and previously successful incumbents stumble. But that’s much too broad a usage.

its authors set out to recapture the original tenets of the theory of disruptive innovation and apply it to the Uber transportation company.

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Five Questions That Make Strategy Real

A frank look at what strategy is by Jack Welch:

Strategy, then, is simply finding the big a-ha and setting a broad direction, putting the right people behind it, and then executing with an unyielding emphasis on continuous improvement. There’s no mystery to it!

Difficult to disagree with his view from the very top  C-suite, although more technical detail on the ‘winning move’ is usually needed to ensure intended implementation the closer to the operational frontline it gets.

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