A Lesson in Innovation and Risk-Taking...
Most of you are old enough to remember the world-famous company Kodak. Long before Instagram and Facebook(Meta), Kodak was the name synonymous with helping people capture their 'special' moments.
There is a seldom-discussed fact about Kodak that holds a lesson for each of us this evening.
Kodak invented the digital camera, the device that would change the way we take pictures forever.
Kodak's engineers came up with the invention in the 1970s and even secured the patent.
However, they chose to not use their innovation to their advantage.
Instead of embracing change and innovation, they missed the boat and let other companies like Canon and Nikon sail ahead in the years that would follow.
Now, you might wonder, "Why did they do that?"
Well, there lies the lessons for us as entrepreneurs:
- Fear of Change: One big reason Kodak didn't grab the digital camera opportunity was its resistance to change from leadership. They were so comfortable with their film business that they didn't want to risk their success. Despite having the most leverage in their sector.
- Ignoring Customers' Needs: Kodak stopped prioritizing what their customers wanted. They assumed people would always love film. But the world was changing, customers were leading lives increasingly built for a digital solution. And they invented the solution.
- Complacency: Kodak was a big company with a lot of success. They got complacent and believed they were invincible. They didn't feel the need to innovate.
- Taking Calculated Risks: Kodak was too afraid to take risks. That blinded them to the very opportunity in the palm of their hands. Sadly they even ignored the advice of many people urging them to pivot into digital until it was too late.
Entrepreneurs, you are change makers.
You are opportunity builders.
Listen to your customers, and not only to the words they speak.
Consider no opinion worthless, and most importantly don't let the fear of change cripple the advantages you have.
The market is your friend in this journey.