The Wall Street Journal had a front page article this morning about the pending bankruptcy of Kodak, a 131 year-old company synonymous with photography. There is much one could say and I am certain much will be written about the demise of this company.  Hopefully, some lessons will be learned. 

One big one stands out though and that is how important it is for any company, no matter how established, to be on the lookout for disruptive technologies.  Kodak developed much of the original technology for the ubiquitous digital cameras but stuck to the traditional film business.  Sony, Panasonic, and a plethora of other companies rushed in to fill the void.  They tried to get in the digital game but when they did it was too late and they offered to little new.

A second lesson is companies need to be looking for ways besides just technological innovation to distinguish themselves.  The rate of technological change is not slowing up.  In fact, it is likely increasing.  For example, having an effective customer service strategy is a valuable way to differentiate your company from competition.  It also has the inherent advantage in that it is hard to replicate.

Something to consider as you move into 2012.



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