Despite rapid innovations in data processing and machine learning, many businesses have yet to make the leap from the Industrial Age to the information age, and the gap between technological and organizational progress is widening. Closing this gap requires much more than short-term fixes, like adopting new technologies. Businesses need to organize around long-term strategies for growth and partnership in a sustainable way. The consequences for not doing so can be dire.
Eastman Kodak is the textbook case for failing to prioritize an innovation agenda; business schools around the world study the ramifications of the company’s ill-fated decision to ignore the digital photography market until it was too late. It’s far from the only case of a failure to embrace a more digital approach; the larger shift to digital is changing the way every industry operates. Some industries, like photography and media, were impacted earlier. Others, like financial services, are only now experiencing this change in earnest. The common thread in each instance is that a failure to recognize signals and prioritize innovation over short-term profits before it’s too late can have existential ramifications and cause negative ripples throughout broader capital markets.