Innovate fast or die faster

5 Apr

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kodak was the world leader in photography. However, in the early 2000s, the company was struggling to stay afloat due to the advent of digital photography. Despite having invented the digital camera in 1975, Kodak failed to embrace the technology and capitalize on its potential, ultimately leading to its downfall.

According to a New York Times article from 2012, Kodak’s leadership was hesitant to invest in digital technology, believing that film would continue to dominate the market. As a result, competitors like Sony and Canon overtook Kodak in the digital camera market. In 2003, Kodak was still selling 70 million film cameras per year, while digital cameras had become the norm.

The company’s late response to digital photography led to a significant loss of market share and revenue. A Forbes article from 2015 stated that Kodak went from being one of the most valuable brands in the world to filing for bankruptcy in just a few short years. The company’s inability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and technology advancements ultimately led to its downfall.
In the words of former Kodak CEO George Fisher, “We were always thinking long term, but the problem was the long term caught up with us.” Kodak’s reluctance to invest in digital technology and their dependence on film ultimately led to their demise. The lesson to be learned is that companies must be willing to adapt and evolve to stay relevant in a constantly changing market. As Fisher stated, “If you’re not changing, you’re going to be left behind.”

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