Earlier this month, I was asked to facilitate a discussion group session with 25 highly accomplished entrepreneurs on the topic of innovation. The individuals were dynamic and the topic was broad, but for this group of innovators, their life’s mantra was to ‘innovate or die’; so I was inspired.
After brief introductions, I thought I’d stimulate the conversation by polling the group for an example of a modern business whom they felt was winning at the innovation game and one who’s struggling to keep their edge. I was astonished when 15 out of the 25 geeks in the room put Apple in the latter category; despite each carrying an Apple product – particularly an iPhone.
For the next 3.5 hours, we had an inspired conversation that convinced each of us that faster, better and cheaper is just a way of life today, and that no business, including Apple is immune from those expectations. USC professor Gerard Tellis has devoted his life’s work to studying innovation and in his latest book, Unrelenting Innovation: How to Build a Culture for Market Dominance, he talks about why success might actually be a curse. He calls it the ‘incumbent’s curse’, and here’s how you can avoid it.