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The Consequences of Your (in)actions

If you were ever to make the journey down to the Select Technology office, as you walked through the door, you would be greeted by a wall that spells out our guiding principles as a business.

One of these values relates to Innovation. We believe that to be the best organisation we can be, we owe it to our customers to be continually improving. Looking at what we do and how we do it and changing where needed to ensure that we continue to be successful.

Innovation is an interesting concept. Some organisations seem to think that Innovation means change for changes’ sake. Some believe that Innovation and change are essential and will embrace change at any cost. While these viewpoints both have merit, most organisations choose to exist somewhere in the middle, keen to embrace the positive benefits of change but wary of breaking something that is fundamental to the success of their business.

Change, for good or for bad, should in my opinion always be embraced. Meaningful analysis of the impact of specific changes can help highlight the benefits and mitigate the risks. A thorough understanding of what works well within your business (possibly by embracing critical analysis of your business using tools such as Power BI) will help you gravitate toward changes that are positive by nature.

The reality today is that change is a constant. The digital economy means that, no matter how fast we run or how hard we work, someone will always have just worked out a more efficient, more streamlined way to do something, think of Blockbuster & Netflix or Text Vs. Instant Messaging.

Innovation in business can be tough. Wouldn’t we all love the time to be able to stop what we are doing for long enough to be able to analyse WHY we are doing it. However, to ensure that we are always at the forefront of our industry, this is exactly what we must do. We are genuinely seeing the death of “but that’s the way we have always done it.” Sure, there are organisations that believe that is right and will continue to say it, unfortunately for most organisations that think this way the clock is ticking.

Let’s look again at Blockbuster Video. In 1997, when Netflix was formed, Blockbuster was worth $8.4BN. They were utterly convinced that their way was the best way forward. They believed in it so completely and were so resistant to change that when, in 2000, when Netflix approached them about a merger (Reed Hastings was asking for only $50M for Netflix to become part of the Blockbuster business) they sent the internet upstart packing. The rest, as they say, is history. Netflix is now worth $65BN, at the time of it’s demise in 2010, Blockbuster was worth only $24m. Blockbuster did launch its own online streaming service, but by 2006 when it was launched, Netflix already had almost 10 years of experience in the market and Blockbuster just couldn’t compete.

We all owe it to ourselves to continue to have an open mind about how things can be done differently. That organisation that comes to you and tells you they have a new way of doing things should at least be listened to. It might not be the right way for you to go forward but no longer can we simply dismiss these approaches as we have done in the past. That is exactly what Blockbuster did.