At Narrative Science, we’re bringing a revolutionary and new technology to market that ultimately leverages the advancement in processing power and data throughput. The progress in these two areas have been steady and predictable for some time, and they’ve helped businesses manage the massive amounts of data that they are able to collect. When talking to prospective clients, some of the decision makers seem to not understand that they’ve invested millions in the infrastructure to collect this data about their customers and operations, but now they have no way to “harvest” the data and the insight that lies within it. To draw comparisons, what if a farmer spent tons of money on machinery to plant more crops, but they still had to harvest their crops by hand. See a problem there?
Which brings me to my point, stubbornness kills innovation which ultimately leads to bigger profits, through cutting costs or new revenue streams. Maybe it’s ignorance about innovation, I’m not sure. Either way, not willing to have open mind about how technology can revolutionize your business, or even gain a competitive advantage against competitors, will lead to your demise. Even if you are the best at what you do, becoming complacent enough to decelerate innovation even the slightest will allow new competitors to come into your space, or rethink how things can be done better than today. The classic example of this is Kodak. They refused to believe that people would ever shift away from printed pictures back in the 80’s and 90’s. And the sadly funny thing is this shift didn’t happen overnight, it took decades, and a new generation, to fully cement the shift away from film rolls and print pictures. Yet Kodak failed to innovate and embrace the changing world around them, unlike their competitors. After 30 years of stubbornness and corporate struggle, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Not to mention, they killed tens of thousands of jobs along the way.
Ultimately I think that’s the real point that needs to be emphasized here, if you fail to improve or change even parts of your business alongside the innovation in technology, you’ll be left behind (and so will your employees). That’s why it blows my mind some days when prospects I talk to continue to fail to explore what emerging and new technologies can do for their business. When they say no, we’ll just talk to their competitor 🙂