Innovate On Purpose

What happens when the largest, most cataclysmic change causes recognized to business collide with inserted, rigid business constructions and models? Which side wins, the irresistible force or the immovable object? Today In my post, I’m going to answer this age-old philosophical question. Innovation and change damage complacent, unchanging business constructions and models.

Every time. Everywhere. For a long time we’ve discussed the increasing pace of change, and far like the proverbial frog in the pot we’re still sitting down in water as it’s achieving the boiling point. The telephone didn’t reach a billion users until decades after its launch – probably almost a hundred years afterwards.

Facebook, Google and other internet applications reach a billion users in the matter of a few years, and newer, interpersonal press powered applications can do so even more quickly. Unfortunately for them they’ll also burn up and disappear even more quickly as well. Do old business models make sense in this new, evolving environment rapidly?

Can a business define and “lock in” its business model and desire to merely sustain its business model, thinking it will weather the storm and wait around until “things return to normal”? It’s almost trite to state “the new normal is change”. That almost will go without saying. The race would go to the nimble, the agile and the swift, not to the large and slow.

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There is no return to normal, in fact what’s normal is more change and a faster pace. Can slow, rigid business models which were successful in the past, in a much more staid environment offer any solace to a business, or position those businesses for success in the foreseeable future? I’ll argue the answer is: most likely not.

At worst you will need a business model that evolves at the speed of change in the surroundings. You simply cannot afford to fall in back of and become locked into a mature business model (hello Blockbuster), no matter how dominant you think the prevailing models are. Netflix obliterated Blockbuster but continued to progress its model into streaming and now article marketing.

Because standing pat on a business model once people understand the value proposition is crazy. There are simply too many avenues to attack a business model after the value proposition is comprehended. Let’s look at a couple of ways to attack a preexisting business model. There’s what I like to call the “chipping away” model, which is exactly what retail banks in the US are experiencing. No beginners want to face all the regulatory burden that the retail banking institutions face in total.