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February 11, 2008


C. Enrique Ortiz

Hello Irving... interesting piece. You write:

"delicate balance between carefully managing their existing operations, and embracing disruptive innovations"

...which is why a lot of innovation occurs on small, or startup companies, because there is no need for balance; the balance tilts one way, which is the way of innovation.

I wonder what your thoughts are on innovation w.r.t "mobile/wireless"?

I also wonder when you will be at Austin again? I run a small SIG called MobileMonday Austin, and would love to have to present; we would be lucky to have you come speak to our small audience of Austin mobile technologists :-)


Chris Ward

So what does a large business do, when someone comes along wanting a slice of its capital or its revenue ?

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6532982.html is a case ... not involving IBM either way ... where someone is trying to take money from the cable TV distribution companies in the US, arguably 'double-dipping' on a bill that had already been paid.

I see a kind of 'circling-the-wagons' behavior; big corporations making double-sure with their competition/anti-trust lawyers that any contract they sign is for a high enough price to assure expected profitability; that any product or service they provide externally is according to a contract. It becomes commercially necessary for the survival of the big corporation as a single entity.

Become a client, you're within the 'wagon circle', and we'll do anything for you.

Don't sign that contract, you're outside the wagon-circle, you're on your own.

Is it good for the world, though ? What message does it send to the next generation ... the schoolchildren, and the universities ... if they're in the 'desert' outside ?

Should the corporations 'give back' to develop the next generation of clients and employees ? And how do you do it, when you have the circled wagons ?

Christine Flanagan

Hi Irving - We've all certainly heard ad nauseam that marketplace leaders must address any disruptive innovations being levied against the business model, otherwise, they risk obsolescence. You know better than anyone that this is easy to understand, yet difficult to embrace.

At the risk of sounding morbid, perhaps the delicate balance should ultimately reflect an organ donor model. Like people, business units have a life cycle. But important components can be saved to not only live another day but also evolve into the next big thing. (Clay Christensen once told me to think of it like biological evolution: The population will evolve, even though individuals can't.)

All this gets back though to the one intractable issue for established companies and that's mindset. All the scientific arguments in the world can't change an entrenched culture. It's like telling a terminal cancer patient to just give up and accept the inevitable. And that just won't do.

There are no easy answers, which is why I wholeheartedly embrace an experimentation model that involves all parts of the business model - not just R&D.

Keep up the posts - I really enjoy them! Chris

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