Philips Electronics fell victim to this blind spot when it spent a fortune to pioneer high-definition television (HDTV) sets in the mid-1980s. The company’s executives drove a development effort that succeeded in creating numerous breakthroughs in television technology, offering picture quality that customers loved and that the competition, at the time, could not match. Yet, despite sterling execution and rave reviews, Philips’s high-definition TV flopped. Even the most brilliant innovation cannot succeed when its value creation depends on other innovations—in this case the high- definition cameras and transmission standards necessary to make high-definition TV work—that fail to arrive on time. Philips was left with a $2.5 billion write-down and little to show for its pioneering efforts by the time HDTV finally took off twenty years later.
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[This article republished with permission from the author and the Tuck School of Business.]
I agree that one can be ahead of the times and fail because the ecosystem is not ready, or the consumers are not ready. Or for many other reasons - in today\'s complex and interconnected world these reasons could be anything. The interesting question for me is why are such successful companies such as Nokia, Sony, Kodak, Panasonic , sharp etc struggling for survival? Being the leader in their field shouldn\'t they have the best talent and better understanding of their own space better than any new player to weater the storm? Some thoughts on this issue in my blog - http://www.rahulbalyan.com/2012/04/why-is-it-difficult-to-learn-from-success/on May 1, 2012
The question of how to move from products to systems is at the heart of the book. In fact, Apple's remarkable strategy for sequencing the addition of partners into its ecosystem is the focus of chapter 8. What is clear is that having a great product, even when combined with a clear desire to collaborate, is not enough to succeed with ecosystems -- just ask Nokia, whose ecosystem vision (through Symbian) preceded Apple's by a decade. They had a vision, but lacked the strategy. The Wide Lens perspective is all about where, when and how to build collaborative advantage. If of interest, the introduction and first chapter are free on the book website: www.TheWideLensBook.comon Apr 26, 2012
Good Observation but not entirely true. Article seems to suggest that Innovative companies tends to build an ecosystem and tries to see that the collaborators benefits from it. Some recent success suggests otherwise. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook; they all build the product first; its only when it became moderately successful that so called "collaborator" started looking at them. In fact in certain cases the idea of partnering came much later to innovators. Apple APP story being one such case. Facebook idea of being an web ecosystem too came much later. While the cases presented in this article "Philips" serves well for this study but its not true in general.on Apr 25, 2012