Read this partial list of core competencies for a particular firm and try to guess what industry it is in:
1. Consumer insights: understanding what consumer want
2. Design: making things easy to use
3. Innovation: coming up with new ideas routinely
4. Systems integration: making things work together
5. Customer relationships: forming and maintaining customer loyalty
From this list alone, you could imagine this firm being part of virtually any industry. In fact, the firm with these core competencies would likely be the leader of that industry. Which company owns these skills?
In 2008, managers at Kodak cited these skills as their core competencies. Less than four years later, Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy, ending the reign of a once proud and legenday 120 year old brand. It is now forced to sell its massive patent estate to raise operating cash.
What happened? Many will cite the familiar reasons: failure to innovate, slow to move into digital photography, poor execution of digital photography, and so on. Yet none of these reasons are correct. Kodak was a highly innovative firm. It invented digital photography long before it wiped out its paper film business. Kodak was a marketing powerhouse. It could execute marketing campaigns and brand building with the best of them.
Can you innovate too much? After all, new ideas fuel organic growth. One would think an organization would be happy to have as many ideas as possible.
But not always. Here are scenarios where over-innovating might be considered too much of a good thing.