The Sony Walkman was a great innovation, and it allowed Sony to dominate the portable music market for several years. But then along came the Apple iPod. Apple quickly took over the market from Sony even though Sony had developed an MP3 player before Apple. What happened?
Gerard Tellis, author of Unrelenting Innovation, says that Sony’s innovation was stifled by what he calls the “incumbent’s curse.” The three traits of an incumbent that can slow down innovation are:
- Fear to cannibalize current products.
- An aversion to risk.
- A focus on the present.
Sony was concerned about their music royalties so their MP3 player included anti-piracy software that stifled its adoption by consumers, and Apple took over the market. Tellis believes that unrelenting innovation requires that a company must work at overcoming this incumbent’s curse by reversing the traits:
- Be prepared to cannibalize current products.
- Embrace risk.
- Focus on the future.
Tellis developed a list of practices by which any company can become unrelentingly innovative and continue to dominate their respective markets. If you would like to hear about these practices, join us on May 29th for our Soundview Live webinar with Gerard Tellis called How to Build a Culture for Market Dominance.
Invite your colleagues and fill a conference room for just $49 for this exciting opportunity. And if you subscribe to our Online Edition of Soundview Executive Book Summaries, all webinars are free – $99 for our book summaries plus weekly webinars – not a bad deal.