Creative destruction is looming over companies like Kodak and Barnes & Noble, focusing American executive minds on two questions:
- Are large companies able to innovate quickly enough in an age of rapid disruption?
- And if they can, how do they do it?
This WSJ article offers up what I've seen as a recurring theme:
- The large companies that do manage to survive are ruthless about change.
- The most successful ones aren't afraid to cannibalize their big revenue generators to build new businesses.
- Johnson & Johnson, founded in 1886
- International Business Machines Corp. just celebrated its 100th birthday
- 35-year-old Apple Inc. has transformed itself from a small PC maker into a kingpin of mobile devices
- Google Corp., founded in 1998, is finding new ways to grow beyond its core search engine advertising business
Top executives at successful big companies are a lot like those at small companies, said James W. Breyer, a partner at Facebook Inc. investor Accel Partners and a director at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dell Inc.
Mr. Breyer described these executives as very smart, and able to diversify into new businesses while staying focused on a company's core.