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Archive for 02/02/2012

7 Lessons from Kodak – True Or False?

2nd Feb 2012   Thur

By:  Joshua


Too established to think?

The above newspaper extracts pinpointed 7 lessons why Kodak has failed in its long-established business.

To recap, there are:

(1)  failure to move into new technologies;

(2)  though among the first to invent digital camera, but lacked determination to follow through;

(3)  failed to capture the imagination of social web-based photo image-sharing, like Facebook did;

(4)  over-diversify into other non-core businesses and failed to make good progress;

(5)  failure to renew strategy, kept sticking to “old good concept” all the way;

(6)  hanging on one-minute-too-long, with a “sinking ship”;

(7)  lacking the guts to move away from the wreck to save the future of the company.

The ending?  File for bankruptcy.

The way I look at the story of Kodak, the Root Cause of all problems/evils for Kodak is well beyond what the above mentioned, albeit they are the text-book common sense. How Kodak comes to this ending is deep-rooted in the following analogy:

–  After the founder died, the company had failed BADLY in bringing in CEOs with rear talent and visionary foresight. Otherwise, just the established system (in Kodak) could not kill the company. Over the last 40 years, the company for sure had employed merely mediocre leaders who in turn, brought Kodak to the edge of the cliff and went over it.  If Kodak had some brilliant CEOs, the scenarios would be very different. All the above mentioned 7 lessons would have been corrected.

Just look at Apple will do. Without Steve Jobs, the company would have long packed up. Now is the real test for Apple after Steve era.

Another issue is worth pondering. Kodak apparently was washed away by the Tsunami of Positive Disruption. Apparently digital-age imagery products have overtaken Kodak’s films (key business software) usefulness. There are companies out there consistently in search of such positive disruption to their proven business model and trying to break new grounds in order to stay ahead of the curve. But, it’s easy said than done. Someone said this before, “Real innovation is to push yourself into territory of dangers…”


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