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links for 2008-10-17 October 17, 2008

Posted by arikjohnson in Uncategorized.
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  • We can't use the word innovation here, because if a market is known and a company has a good foothold in that market already, they should be very impatient for growth: invest aggressively and get ahead of the competition is the only way to succeed. But this particular type of innovation we call disruption needs a longer runway for it to take off, and part of the reason is that many of the strategy details are just unknowable in advance. You've got to get into the market, try a few things, fail a few times and iterate towards a viable strategy. Then, once the strategy is known and tested, it's very important to invest aggressively to grow. But the evidence really is strong that when a corporation needs that new business to get very big, very fast, they won't allow it to take that time on the runway — the time to make sure it's headed in the right direction. They just force it to take off very quickly and almost always, it fails.
  • I have a little vignette in The Innovator’s Dilemma about how people were trying to fly in the Middle Ages by fabricating wings, strapping them onto their arms, jumping and flapping real hard. For centuries subsequent innovators framed the problem as: The guys who died just didn’t flap hard enough. Yet it still never worked. Once they understood that there were some basic laws of nature that they needed to account for, once Bernoulli understood fluid mechanics well enough to articulate his principle, then there was a law of nature we could actually harness. I think that to some degree prior to my research, a lot of good managers were flapping their wings. They were working very hard to fight some fundamental laws of organization nature.
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