b-school, Business, Management, Thoughts

Moving from the tyranny of success to the crisis-stifled innovation

Yes, your company used to work so well. You were succeeding. And since you were succeeding and you were the incumbent, you needn’t innovate. Well, of course, you were better than that and you decided to innovate anyway, letting go some leash and opening some space for incremental innovation, probably parting from your customers and clustered companies suggestions, and put up some resources to think of new ways of doing the same things, or even new things. You were great.

So, let’s agree that your successful company innovated in any case, at least namely. But you were in a disadvantage with respect to new smaller entrants, that did not have a strong corporate culture to protect, and some rules to adhere to. Yes, you did have those, as that was the culture that helped you to be successful in the first place, and the first thing you’d need to do, if you were not successful, in your turnaround strategy, would be to build a new, aligned and strong culture anyway.

True divergence, the one that was contrary to everything you held dear, had to be repressed. That success was the tyrant that stifled innovation, till now.


The tyrant has died with the crisis. Now you’re no longer that successful, but prone to crisis-fighting and worried about keeping your ground. Who thinks of innovation now? Surely you know about the importance of innovation, as the innovators now, the ones that rethink the business and learn the ropes of the new rules, will be the winners of tomorrow, but, what about those innovators that bend the norms, destroy capabilities in order to build new ones, ride through the waves of creative destruction inside your company. Couldn’t they wait and not to bother too much until a better time comes? Aren’t they annoying?

Yes, they are the traitors that are breaking the ranks precisely when you needed everyone unconditionally by your side, to put up the fire.

Innovation is stifled again… different reasoning… business as usual.


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