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How Digital Technology Is Killing Innovation

(October 2011) posted on Tue Nov 08, 2011

Times of change can be roads to revenue or ruin. Coudray describes how you can evaluate your situation and aim for growth.

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By Mark A. Coudray

When I realized this, everything changed. I began to see things differently. I began to look at situations differently. Things would never be the same again. In the past, we all would look at a job based on three things: how much or many resources would it take, how much risk would be involved, and how much friction (hassle factor) was involved with the client, account, or market.

Today’s model now incorporates a fundamental new element. It is a self-perpetuating element. I now evaluate every deal by the three traditional points and a fourth component: how much new business will be created automatically if my business pursues the opportunity.

When I first thought of this, it really twisted my mind. Up to this point, we were treating every account, client, and deal pretty much as a one off. It was what I called the hunter-gatherer approach to sales and marketing—foraging for lots of small orders, every day, or going for the big one. Landing a whale meant eating for a long time, getting fat and lazy, and then slowly beginning to starve when trying to replace the source of sustenance when it was gone. The problem was daily foraging was getting pretty lean, and the whales had all gone offshore.

The point of this is simple. Your marketing effort going forward must contain a self-perpetuating element if you expect to survive. It’s a way of extending existing tech purchases and will help you buy time for training and learning new things until you can adjust to the new paradigm.

I’ve written a number of columns over the last few years about the need for accelerated learning and the exponential expansion of knowledge. We are at a critical crossroad right here, right now. Unless we find a new way of delivering current, relevant knowledge, in large quantities, to a receptive audience, that gets it, we’re on the way to demise.

I wish I could lay out the answers here, but space is too limited. But there are solutions. To start, I would highly recommend getting a copy of the excellent new book, “Business Model Generation,” by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. Not only will it change the way you look at everything going on around you, but it will also give you a fundamental framework to design the changes I’ve proposed so far.

Keep all of this in mind as you walk the vast expanse of the trade show. Look at how our industry has changed and who the new players are. Screen printing is still here to be sure, but our role now is not necessarily one of print innovation; rather, it is one of how we bring our knowledge, technology, and value to the markets in more efficient and innovative ways.


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