As 2015 draws to a close, are you looking back in awe at the extraordinary changes that have unfolded around the world in the past 12 months? Or is your focus more strongly on disruption and the opportunities it creates for dramatic outperformance, or declines that may lie ahead?
In more and more industries, the leading businesses have learned to love innovation and to embrace change. The benefits of being a first-mover—and indeed a fast-mover—appear to be increasing. Meanwhile, the dangers of sitting back, reflecting for a while, and attempting to be an effective fast-follower appear to be increasing too. In consumer markets, fickle consumer attitudes may result in preferences changing so rapidly that your leading market position may disappear too quickly for you to adjust course in time to avert disaster. RIP Nokia and Blackberry, both once hundred-billion-dollar companies.
There are implications for nations too. The regions that have become the natural home to innovative businesses and new technologies have achieved huge advantage. This has happened time and again throughout history. Whether it was the invention of the wheel, the smelting of metals, the development of firearms, the agricultural revolution, or the industrial revolution, economies and populations at the forefront of revolution were clear winners. In contrast, those that held onto the status quo, or were simply left behind by evolution, suffered significant disadvantage.
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