Just a few months ago, Eastman Kodak—the company whose brand was synonymous with taking pictures for more than a hundred years—declared bankruptcy. The photography pioneer invented digital cameras but failed to leverage its own innovation. My colleague Hank Lucas, in his new book “Surviving Disruptive Technologies,” takes an in-depth look at the challenges faced by Kodak and other companies in this issue of Research@Smith.
Kodak is by no means the only company with a very strong brand and dominance in its industry to fall victim to the disruptions caused by technology innovation. Think of Blockbuster, done in by Netflix; or Netflix, which is now struggling to adapt its own business model in a post-DVD world. Teaching leaders and future leaders how to deal with emerging technologies is a true challenge for business schools. Emerging technologies represent both a threat and an opportunity for businesses, and it takes a great deal of courage to contemplate changing your business model, especially in the face of inertia or hostility from within the ranks of company management.
That kind of courage can’t always be taught, but it can be learned—often from a mentor or by hearing the experiences of others. That’s one of the reasons why we work so hard to bring CEOs and business leaders into our classrooms, to give both students and faculty the benefit of your real-life experiences and insights. We are eager to hear your perspective. I hope you will connect directly with me or Elizabeth Rowan, our assistant director of corporate relations, to learn more.
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