The simple story outlined by Jim Collins in the previous post is just the very first step in understanding why good companies fail.
The very old and well-known idea from Christensen & Bower (1996) and the Innovator’s Dilemma suggests that the very strategies that helped firms to reach success cause them to fail as the environment change and new entrants succeed in introducing and developing disruptive innovations. His examples of the hard disk industry and the steel mills are also very well known.
Now, here is another speech centered on this idea by Don Sull from the London Business School. He explains that there are 5 types of commitments that can bind companies:
1. Frames (assessments)
2. Processes (formal, informal)
3. Resources (tangible and intangible)
5. Set of Values (identities)
The well-known example of the mini steel mill revolution is compared in this video with possible disruptive changes in higher education. Christensen offers great suggestions to academia to integrate online and traditional education.
I am convinced that although traditional seminars are key for development of students, novel ideas should be incorporated into the curriculum to keep competitive. Joint efforts such as the Singapore-MIT Alliance us also a good approach. Other universities could also benefit from more cooperation.
This report from HBS professor Michael Porter, Jan Rivkin & Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls business to rise up against short-term business practices and help bolster the competitiveness of the United States. They base their arguments on a survey that they have conducted among high-profile HBS alumni. They conclude that there are fundamental problems with competitiveness (defined as competitive strength in the global market place & capability of supporting high and rising wages, and living standards) in the U.S. and action must be taken.
I found it slightly amusing that most of the suggestions are similar to the oft criticized Japanese model that focuses on high standards of living for employees and other stakeholders, and long-term employee training. Well, it is high time the U.S. realized that short-term policies and financial tricks won’t help in creating a sustainable future.
Here is the link to the report lecture.