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10/04/2011

The culture of Kodak: It's hard not to fall when you're on top of the world

Early film Kodak is an iconic company – almost synonymous with film and photography. 

It may soon become synonymous with major collapse as well:   the epitome of a once invincible company that couldn’t keep up. 

In the wake of predictions that Kodak may file for bankruptcy, economists will likely go over the company’s business decisions for years to come.  But over at the Rethinking Complexity blog, Dennis Rebelo asks:  what if Kodak’s problems were cultural? 

Kodak reached a pinnacle where it could afford to be insular – and did.  “By sequestering itself, the organization created the anti-culture of success,” Rebelo writes. “The culture it carved out disabled "fresh," innovative thinking. Product development, for example, requires market engagement. Kodak didn't even attend the Consumer Electronic Show (or CES) until 2004—amazing evidence of their lack of consumer orientation.”

To prosper at the top, he suggests, companies and individuals must move from striving for security to finding value in creation and innovation for its own sake – a process Abraham Maslow called “Theory Z.”

It’s a fascinating essay.  Read it here

Posted at 03:16 PM in

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