There is this old chinese proverb: “Sometimes to be reborn, you must first die”. I always think of that when I see major companies floundering. Yahoo is likely today’s good example. A historical example could be IBM which went through a real and profound redirection before it came back strong with its services emphasis.
The last few weeks I’ve been on the road a LOT. Sort of on the road a lot along with a bunch of very interesting client work. I’ve been at the Web 2.0 Summit, speaking at the ABI conference on Innovation, talking with my alumni school (SCU) about what I call “Big-M Marketing”… it got me thinking a lot about companies, industries and certainly thinking.
Here’s the thing. All companies or industries or major ideas have cycles of innovation, plateau, demise, and then resurgence. (Well, the lucky ones have resurgence.) But to some degree, when we’re managing the current business we don’t seem to take that into effect. Much of what we do at work is focused on the center of our current business. Yet for us to be strategic about our business, we also need to look ahead. Right?
It’s important, if not critical, to step back and consider what isn’t yet anywhere near the center of our world. The key questions become:
- What is on the fringe of our views or the industry views that hasn’t yet been discovered by the masses?
How will those emerging things impact us?
- And what can we do now to prepare or influence the outcome?
So that we effectively are “dying” parts of what we do, so we can “bring to life” the new. Maybe it’s a philosophy as much as action.