Snakes and ladders: Should Innovation Be An Evolution Or Revolution?

GAME - SNAKES AND LADDERS
SHARE
THIS



Gaia and Andrew Grant (pictured below) are the authors of The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game. In this opinion piece they argue plenty of great businesses have been ruined by disruption and offer advice to ensure yours isn’t one of them…

Innovation has been studied extensively since economist and political scientist Joseph Schumpeter first suggested its critical role for business in the 1930s.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 4.52.15 pm

One thing that has become apparent over those years of study is that the innovation imperative in the technology sector is increasing exponentially. There seems to be a treadmill that has an automatic speed-up setting that can’t be changed, because capitalism requires constantly evolving systems and structures to support it.

And few companies are able to keep up.

The realities of the ‘innovation race’

Only one out of the top five tech companies in 1995, companies that were established at the time of the introduction of the internet, remain in the technological innovation race today.

What’s more, 14 of the world’s 15 most valuable technology brands have disappeared during the two decades since 1995. With the notable exception of Apple, all have been rendered obsolete by more agile competitors.

Many of the top companies researched in Tom Peters’ and Robert H. Waterman’s book In Search of Excellence (1982) and in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great (2001) have not lasted the distance.

Good companies can fail easily when confronted by market and technological change — even the kinds of companies that are known for their ability to innovate and execute well.

A study of Fortune 100 and Global 100 companies between 1955 and 2006 found that almost 90 per cent went through a stall phase at some stage, and fewer than half of those were able to recover sufficiently. Few of the companies that stalled for more than 10 years recovered at all.

Survival at all costs?

Survival in the competitive technological innovation race, it has been found, often depends on radical breakthrough innovations rather than slow evolutionary adaptations. And these disruptive innovations are changing the game.

Throughout history countless technological transitions have dramatically impacted rates of development and established new benchmarks. Think about the switch from horse and buggy to motorcar, from typewriter to computer, from snail mail to email.

Disruptive and breakthrough innovations have emerged as a way of dealing with gaps, yet these forms of rapid innovation can be risky.

Sometimes rapid breakthrough innovations are like a game of snakes and ladders: when you land in the wrong place you can find yourself sliding back to square one, having to start all over again.

Discover a significant new innovation, on the other hand, and you can leap ahead of the competition and scale a fast-track ladder to the top in one swift move. This race generates both great opportunities and great risks, fast winners and losers.

Do or die

The free-to-air and cable TV channels, for example, spent so much time competing against each other that they didn’t even see their new competitors coming. By the time the streaming companies (following the Netflix model) hit the market the customer was begging for these sorts of flexible solutions, and the TV channels were left struggling, often reduced to back-to-back reality TV and sports programs.

Traditionally companies within industries have focused on competing against each other through sustained incremental innovation and haven’t had to worry about anything outside their own particular world. This system can work as long as deep change is not needed.

Disruptive innovation often emerges when an outsider enters a market and defies the established system. Entrant companies have been able to trial radically new ideas and methods by importing them from different industries and applying them in a new situation.

What established companies often fail to see is that customers will go ahead and innovate, with or without their approval, according to their needs.

Beyond haphazard innovations

The challenge is that, just as we need to move beyond the slower but more sustainable incremental innovations that help us to survive, eventually we are going to have to go beyond the sometimes haphazard breakthrough and disruptive innovations that are helping us to get ahead in the game.

We need to progress to what we call transformational innovation: innovation that is fast enough to keep up with the rapid pace of change, yet is also meaningful and sustainable from a social, environmental and commercial perspective.

Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant are the authors of The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game (Wiley August 2016) along with a number of other international bestselling books and resources. As the Directors of Tirian International Consultancy they help to create innovation cultures for a range of international organisations (including Fortune 500 companies and NFPs). The Grants are top-ranking keynote speakers, and Gaia is an HD researcher and guest lecturer at Sydney University Business School. For more information see www.the-innovation-race.com.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Kellogg’s Creates AR Halloween Trick Or Treat Experience Via Shazam & Orchard

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has joined forces with Shazam and digital agency Orchard to deliver a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) Halloween Trick or Treat experience for families. The campaign, which leverages Shazam’s visual recognition platform and recently-launched AR platform, sees Kellogg’s pilot the replacement of physical gifts in cereal packs with a digital experience that […]

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency
  • Advertising

Kraft Heinz Appoints Cummins&Partners As New Creative Agency

Kraft Heinz today confirmed the appointment of Cummins&Partners as its new Creative agency after an extensive pitch process. They will be responsible for brand strategy and integrated creative across the expanding Kraft Heinz portfolio including Kraft, Heinz and Golden Circle. A Kraft Heinz spokesperson said: “After an exhaustive search involving a competitive pitch, we have made […]

Patrick Delany (CEO, Fox Sports), Hugh Marks (CEO, Nine Entertainment Co), Miranda Devine (Columnist, News Corp), Michael Miller (Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (CEO & Managing Director, Southern Cross Austereo) at Radio Alive 2017
  • Media

Media Bosses Weigh In On Ten-CBS Deal

Do you enjoy articles featuring industry big-wigs? Well, it doesn't come much bigger and wiggier than this, we say.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy
  • Marketing

Kantar TNS’ Ali Dexter Joins T Garage As Director Of Insights & Strategy

Melbourne-based market research consulting agency T Garage has announced the appointment of Ali Dexter as its director of insights and strategy. Dexter joins T Garage from Kantar TNS, where she was the director of its Qualitative division. Prior to that, Dexter held a number of senior roles at Kantar TNS in the US and Vietnam.  “After […]

XXXX on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Adobe)
  • Advertising

Adobe Releases Advertising Cloud App

Not one, but two Adobe announcements. The tech elves have been busy this week, not that we're inferring Adobe is Santa.

Facebook Updates Its VR Offering
  • Technology

Facebook Updates Its VR Offering

Do you loathe Facebook for nicking all the ad cash? Well, why not scream "A pox upon you Zuckerberg" while reading this.

InterContinental Perth City Centre Chooses Bonfire To Build Digital Strategy
  • Marketing

InterContinental Perth City Centre Chooses Bonfire To Build Digital Strategy

Luxury hotel InterContinental Perth City Centre is officially set to open this Sunday, and has already taken strides towards developing a comprehensive online search strategy with digital agency Bonfire. The investment reinforces the desire of the hotel to promote its luxury business facilities, which include corporate and bespoke event spaces designed for local, national and […]

Datalabs Announces New Hire And Promotion
  • Marketing

Datalabs Announces New Hire And Promotion

Aussie data visualisation and content marketing analytics agency Datalabs has announced the appointment of Marc de Chellis to run its business development, as well as the promotion of Cass Lilley to accounts and project manager. De Chellis (pictured above, second from the left) joins Datalabs from Launchpad App Development, where he held the role of […]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Advertising

Inskin Grows Sydney Team With New Designer

Digital advertising provider Inskin, continues to expand its Sydney team, hiring Marc Gundesen as a junior digital designer. Gundesen (pictured above) brings a breadth of skills in web design, animation and account management, and will report to Inskin’s lead designer, Jay McCalla. He joins Inskin from Budgy Smuggler, where he worked as a graphic designer, […]

Agent99 PR Signs Finance Industry Thought Leader Vanessa Stoykov For TV Show Launch
  • Marketing

Agent99 PR Signs Finance Industry Thought Leader Vanessa Stoykov For TV Show Launch

Independent communications agency Agent99 Public Relations has welcomed respected founder of No More Practice Education and founder and CEO of Evolution Media Group, Vanessa Stoykov, to its client stable. Agent99 will be supporting the launch of her Learn from the Money Masters – The Investment Series show on Channel Nine. Stoykov has over two decades […]

Susie Porter & Jacki Weaver Lend Support To Young Filmmaker In Crowdfunding Campaign
  • Media

Susie Porter & Jacki Weaver Lend Support To Young Filmmaker In Crowdfunding Campaign

A new crowdfunded short film is shining the light on barriers for women filmmakers, thanks in part to Aussie actresses Susi Porter and Jackie Weaver. Starring Porter, Beverly explores a bizarre love triangle in middle-class suburbia. It is an unflinching coming-of-age comic drama exploring sexual awakening in the era of technology, and the universal yearning […]