Why intrapreneurs are essential for long-term survival

Why intrapreneurs are essential for long-term survival

David Cook was a not a particularly successful veteran of the oil business.

After the sharp downturn in the oil industry in the 1980s, his wife suggested he enter the growing video rental business.

Like a wise man, he listened to his wife.

His little video rental store grew to become the world’s largest with many thousands of outlets around the globe. You may have heard of it - Blockbuster.

In 1993, Cook sold Blockbuster to Viacom for $8.4 billion. This was fortunate, because less than twenty years later, the company was bankrupt.

Successful corporate giants collapsing happens more often than you think.

Kodak was pushed aside by digital cameras. Nokia was outsmarted by smartphones. Blackberry was outperformed by Android and Toys R Us was blown out of the water by Amazon.  

The average time a company stays in the S&P 500 index has dropped from 60 years in the 1950s to under 20 years in 2018.

What happened to these former category leaders?

The answer is that they failed to innovate.

While Netflix was busy finding ways to make renting movies easier (first of all by emailing DVDs to your home and later sending them directly to your TV or laptop via the internet) Blockbuster continued to offer the same physical outlets which were more expensive, more inconvenient and offered less choice.

We’re living in a rapidly changing world and large organisations that fail to innovate will die.

Disruption is happening to every business, everywhere, faster and faster. Those most able to adapt and change will be the ones that ultimately succeed.

Or as John Rampton put it, “For every Netflix, there’s a Blockbuster. Every Facebook, a MySpace.”

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