At a time when big corporations are trying to adapt to all the change in their business environment, many are taking small, incremental steps when bigger steps are needed. One of my favorite quotes is by Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel: “Innovate or die.” True, but with my twist…
”If your internal rate of improvement is less than the rate of change of your environment, you will die.”
You can adapt reactively or innovate proactively. I prefer to be proactive. Big business can fall into a comfortable, internal state of continuous improvement. The company feels that it has a viable improvement program, but the whole codified, improvement process itself can stifle true innovation. External change forces can be evolutionary, disruptive, or even disasterous. A company’s internal devotion to innovation has to at least match the rate of change of the external environment.
My friend C.C. Chapman wrote a blog post for Entrepreneur.com about the Boston Globe’s use of their photo content and photo staff. C.C. had some great, low cost, low risk ideas the Boston Globe could use to leverage their current and future assests. Innovate. Embrace the new technology faster than the competition. Innovate now rather than playing catch-up when it is too late. “Innovate or Die.” C.C. sounded a little sad and frustrated with the Boston Globe. He shouldn’t be. He is an innovator. He is proactive. He is willing to take risks. He is certainly changing faster than his business environment. C.C. will thrive. The Boston Globe, I’m not so sure about.