As engineers, you must never stop innovating. Businesses that stop innovating are likely to fail sooner or later. Remember Kodak? Never heard of them? Exactly. Kodak was once one of two giant corporations that dominated the global photographic film industry from the 1950s until the 1980s. Its principal product was photographic film that, once exposed, was developed in special camera shops (and later in pharmacies) into physical prints. Believe it or not, this was the way we all took pictures 30 years ago.
But while Kodak was busy concentrating its innovation efforts on outsmarting its main competitor (Fuji), it failed to recognise how profound an effect digital photography would have on its business, despite having funded successful research into it. Nowadays, most of us have very good quality picture-taking and storage capabilities on our smartphones and no longer need to use photographic film – or even cameras. Who saw that coming?
To conclude the story positively, Kodak has regrouped and is emerging as a force to be watched in the professional printing area. How did it do this? By transformation through innovation, of course.