2016 marked the fifth anniversary of the legendary Kodak’s filing for bankruptcy. Kodak became a victim of its own success and rather short-sightedness as its management sought to protect its own turf rather than explore business innovations. The digital camera was developed first by Kodak themselves but the management rejected the technology as they felt it impeded their photographic film called Kodachrome responsible for four-fifths of the then market in the US and half of the global figure. Kodak’s bankruptcy led to a sizeable majority of the town Rochester where its main office was based in, losing their jobs. Now Kodak, like Blackberry and Nokia has made a comeback as a niche player leveraging its seven thousand plus patents, but is still a tiny player compared to its once exalted status. Traditional management theory states that companies must ensure established processes are followed in order to execute corporate strategy and thus maintain industry leadership. But in modern times, this is not applicable as fast evolving technology quickly renders existing processes as redundant. Thus a proper innovation strategy needs to be wedded in to the company hierarchy. Innovations must be targeted on portfolio basis, divided into categories such as core, adjacent and transformational. While core innovations focus on incremental benefits, adjacent ones leverages existing products to explore a new market, transformational innovations develop totally new offerings. An innovation management system needs to be put in place to monitor such transformations.


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