Thrivers who Beat Innovation's Toll on the American Corporation | Wall Street Journal | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? |

Creative destruction is looming over companies like Kodak and Barnes & Noble, focusing American executive minds on two questions:

  1. Are large companies able to innovate quickly enough in an age of rapid disruption?
  2. 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.