Consider a few of the great innovation stories of the past decade: Google, Netflix, and Skype. Now ask yourself, why wasn’t Google created by Microsoft? Netflix by Blockbuster? Skype by AT&T?
Why do established corporations struggle to find the next big thing before new competitors do? The problem is pervasive; the examples are countless. The simple explanation is that many companies become too focused on executing today’s business model and forget that business models are perishable. Success today does not guarantee success tomorrow.
To assess your company’s vulnerability, try this diagnostic: On separate index cards, write down all the important initiatives under way in your organization. Then create three boxes and label them “Box 1: Manage the Present,” “Box 2: Selectively Forget the Past,” and “Box 3: Create the Future.”
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