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Innovation: The difference Between Leader and Follower

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." Alan Jamison


New markets can be created, existing markets can be disrupted, and companies can gain a competitive advantage through innovation. Their culture encourages experimentation and risk-taking, and they are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Today's competitive and fast-moving market will punish companies that fail to innovate.


The lack of innovation has resulted in many companies struggling or going out of business. Here are a few examples:


Kodak: Kodak was one of the most successful companies in the photography industry for many decades, but it failed to adapt to the digital age and lost market share to companies like Fujifilm and Canon. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.


Blockbuster: Blockbuster was once the dominant player in the video rental market, but it failed to adapt to the rise of streaming services and online rental options like Netflix and Amazon. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010.


Nokia: Nokia was once the leader in the mobile phone market, but it failed to adapt to the rise of smartphones and lost market share to companies like Apple and Samsung. Nokia sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013.


Sears: Sears was once the largest retailer in the United States, but it failed to keep up with the changing retail landscape and the rise of e-commerce. Sears filed for bankruptcy in 2018.


Toys R Us: Toys R Us was once one of the largest toy retailers in the world, but it failed to adapt to the rise of e-commerce and online competitors like Amazon. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017.


To remain competitive and relevant in the changing market and consumer needs, companies may need help doing serious design thinking with value stream workshops.


Tesla, however, is an example of a company that has demonstrated innovation and leadership. Tesla began accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy by producing electric cars. While expanding to solar panels and energy storage systems, Tesla is now recognized as a leader in the electric vehicle market and a sustainable energy pioneer.


Google, for example, started as a search engine but has continuously innovated to deliver new and valuable services to its customers, including Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Translate, etc. This has allowed Google to retain its customers and attract new ones, and it is now considered one of the most valuable companies in the world.


Leaders distinguish themselves from followers through innovation. Innovation and the ability to create new products, services, or business models can often help companies gain a competitive advantage and become industry leaders.




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