“As we see the pace of technology change accelerate… your window to get to leadership continues to get smaller and smaller.”
– Leslie Wainwright, innovation advisor, RTI International
at the 2018 IRI Annual Conference in Atlanta.
If everyone is moving fast, some are going to be left behind. It can be physically exhausting and financially ruinous if you’re always trying to have first mover or even second mover advantage in innovating. To protect yourself, your business, and your bottom line, form partnerships with other innovators and operate in a swarm. You’re all striving for similar goals and all want protection from potential disruption.
“If you move together as a group or move together as a small swarm, it’s a little bit like zebras, you know it’s harder to pick out just one target and that movement as a collective actually provides a little bit of protection for going first. And it makes it harder for second movers to come in,” said Wainwright.
I asked Wainwright if big companies can actually stop innovating and just let the marketplace fight it out and buy the winner. She fully disagreed. The ‘waiting and responding’ technique sounds nice in theory, especially if you have the money, but it doesn’t work in practice. The market is operating far too quickly to believe you’re going to be able to swoop in at the right moment and get the right product for the right price. You’re just introducing a new level of risk that could be even more costly.
Reduce risk by partnering with other innovators.
This is what makes it all interesting to innovate like your a zebra.
*Banner photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash
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