When it comes to reinvention, who is best to lead to the change? Is it the old guard, the new guard or does it come from a corner or pocket of the world that no one sees coming?
This is an important thought to ponder (at least it is on the weekend, when the day-to-day grind has semi-halted). It’s something that every person in every company should be having a white-board discussion about with their team, and it’s something that is very real. Change is never permanent. Change is always constant. Have you ever really thought about that? Let’s break it down a little further: if you are at the cutting-edge of your industry, can you always be there, or is there someone new already looking at developing a newer-than-yours mousetrap?
Can the music industry save it self? Can Journalism? Newspaper publishers? Radio? Marketing? Advertising agencies? Book publishers? Car manufacturers?
That’s not even a complete list of the many industries that are struggling right now. They’re not struggling to define their future, as scary as this sounds, they’re struggling to define their present. It’s also not due (entirely) to the economy or the digitization of their industry. It’s not due to technology and it’s not due to customer interest in the products. It seems like there is something much more profound taking place. It’s probably some kind of weird hybrid of the many reasons listed above, and at the same time there is a lot of hope in the world right now for the future of business.
Think about it: do you really think there will be no more music, journalism, news, radio, advertising, books or cars in the near future?
Of course, there will be. They may not look like the current models we use, but they’ll still be there. They may have more bells and whistles or have a baseline new technology or distribution system behind it, but we’re not killing off any of this stuff any time soon. Upon reflection, it just feels like the music industry never saw Apple coming, that the newspaper publishers never saw The Huffington Post or Craigslist coming, that radio producers never saw the Internet or Satellite radio coming, that the major book publishers never saw Amazon coming, and so the dance continues.
It also doesn’t happen overnight.
There’s that old saying that most overnight successes were fifteen years in the making (if you don’t believe me, check out the book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell). Saying that any industry is going through a "reinvention" feels like an excuse from those top-tier industry-leading corporations who kept on keeping on without really pushing any form (both mild and/or aggressive) of evolution (for more on this, please read: Evolutionize Your Marketing).
Which begs the question:
If every major corporation prides itself on innovation, why would any industry really have a so-called moment of reinvention?