Unplugged: What Happens When Business Goes Into Coast Mode

19 08 2011

A number of recent events prompted me to write this blog post.  The tipping point came with an article I read on the Fast Company website titled: Lessons In Corporate Strategy From BlackBerry’s Flawed PlayBook.  I have included the link to the article here: http://bit.ly/fc_playbook.  Author Kaihan Krippendorff  shared his thoughts on the new Playbook by Blackberry and why he returned it.  While a good product, Krippendorff pointed to three critical flaws: 1) Not recognizing consumer shift, 2) failing or inability to create a “headless movement” (a term I will associate with failing to develop a universal desire for the product) and 3) copying the competition.

Blackberry was the leader in the communication industry for years.  Their platform was widely adopted as the tool of choice from the corporate executive to the sales associate.  In my opinion, Blackberry became too comfortable with its success and went from game changer to outdated.  Its reliance on its original technology is one example of this.  The other is its lack of innovation.  As Krippendorff pointed out, the Playbook OS is very similar to the ipad.  Innovating companies find ways to leapfrog the competition, not copy it.

It appears Blackberry was more comfortable sticking to old tech and trying to keep its hold on corporate America. It makes me wonder how many other companies hit cruise control when they are at the top of their game. It probably happens more often than it should

I was contracted to work with an organization on a planning process. After years of solid growth, their target market began to shift. Because they had all their eggs in one basket, they knew that they would be in trouble if they continued to ignore this fact. As we reached the end of the process, the CEO shared that the planning they were doing now should have been done almost two years earlier when revenues were much better. He admitted that they became wrapped up in the present and weren’t worried about the future.

The important thing to remember is no matter what your industry, or your title, you need to continue to grow, develop, and innovate.


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