Because the world is in transition it means that people, companies and institutions have to change to adapt to the new order, they have to change to survive.
Now that’s bad news for many people, because most people do not like to change. But it’s good news for others though because where there is change there is sure to be opportunity lurking about someplace!
Being prepared is an essential ingredient for establishing a strategic advantage. Innovation and strategic advantage hinge on your ability to anticipate trends and identify ‘the next big thing’.
Your focus in business should not be on protecting what you have, but rather on identifying and adapting to the next big thing.
In 1989 the Smith Corona Company proudly advertised themselves as being ‘the best typewriter company in the world’. This was a company with a proud history of innovation. 100 years earlier they had invented the first typewriter with upper and lower case. In 1906, they had invented the first portable typewriter and in 1957, the first portable electric typewriter. More recently, they had invented the first personal word processor. Smith Corona knew how to identify new trends and opportunities. Sales were a record $500 million dollars and business, it seemed was booming.
Smith Corona did not miss the emerging trend of personal computing. In 1990 they even observed that the industry was “in a period of transition between typewriters and word processors” and in 1991 formed a partnership with the Acer computer company. The partnership was a good strategy and the CEO even remarked of computers: “They are a logical extension of our line”. In 1992, however, the computer partnership was a distraction to their main focus of relocating their typewriter production to a lower cost base in Mexico, their late entry to the market meant they faced stiff price competition, and the partnership with Acer was ended. A former executive of the company has noted that at the time they could not imagine their company going out of business, that it was “hard to imagine that the typewriter would be annihilated…”