Innovation is an ingredient


Two large companies with completely different views on innovation, Saab and Kodak, have filed for liquidation and protection in the last two months. 

It’s wrong to compare these two companies against modern day technology companies who are so good at innovation, because technology companies are so young by comparison, and companies change rapidly once several ‘generations’ of employees leave the company.

Saab haven’t released a brand new model for several years, so whilst I feel sorry for the thousands of employees worldwide, its a case of lack of innovation leads to staleness. Even the most loyal customers eventually grow bored, such as my next door neighbour who bought a new Saab (in the same colour) every three years for the last few years, bought a beautiful Jaguar XF last October.

In 2010, Saab’s revenue was £2.3bn and Jaguar Land Rover’s was £6.5bn. Jaguar has since released several completely new models and gone from strength to strength. In Q2 2011, it’s revenue was £2.9bn – and that’s during a recession.

It’s easy to look at Kodak as an innovative company though. They invented the first hand held camera, the Brownie, in 1900, and they invented the first digital camera way back in 1975. Unfortunately these landmark inventions weren’t enough. 

Companies needs to keep on innovating again and again, literally ad infinitum.

And innovation isn’t enough by itself. It’s merely an ingredient amongst good timing and marketing.

Photo courtesy of liftarn on Flickr


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