Last week, I was chatting with a friend about innovation and she said to me "if you are surrounded by turkeys, how can you be expected to soar like an eagle".
I love this expression, I hadn't actually heard it before, but it did make me chuckle. But my friend is right, innovating and being ahead of the game takes guts, and a dedicated team who believe in your vision.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it...
Now this expression I have heard before, and in business it can be dangerous. But why are businesses afraid to innovate? Cost? Lack of talent? Fear of change? No motivation? Or is it simply they are comfortable and blinded by the possibility of competition.
Blockbuster v Netflix
Blockbuster was the major player in the video rentals industry, they had the monopoly cornered, 70% of their profit was generated from late fees, effectively punishing their customers. Along comes a little start up called Netflix, and completely turns Blockbusters business model on it head. Despite being a niche service at the time, Netflix proved to be innovative, disruptive and exactly what customers wanted. But back in 2000 the founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings proposed a business deal to the CEO of Blockbuster John Antioco. The deal: Blockbuster would promote Netflix in stores and Hastings would run Blockbuster’s brand online. According to the stories, the Blockbuster management team laughed Reed Hastings right out of the boardroom. No guesses for what happened next, Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010 and Netflix is now a $28 billion dollar company.
It's a sad story, thousands of people lost their jobs and reputations where ruined. We can look back now, as hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Headlines on Blockbusters demise dominated the media: