WITS Zen News for the Week:
- The Dirty Little Secret Of Overnight Successes
- Will Online Education Replace College?
- Blinded by the Light – The Epiphany
- How to Escape the Innovator’s Dilemma
- What Does It Take To Be One Of The World’s Most Ethical Companies?
Angry Birds, the incredibly popular game, was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt. They spent eight years and nearly went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit. James Dyson failed in 5,126 prototypes before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum cleaner. Groupon was put on life support and nearly shut down at one point in its meteoric rise.
Will great free online courses like Thrun’s drive down applications to places like Stanford? To the contrary, I think they will increase competition to get in, just as electronic music helped live concerts and online art museum galleries make most people more eager to visit and see the actual original, even when (as with the Mona Lisa) security measures mean that they could see it more clearly on line or in a printed book.
We now know how to teach entrepreneurs how to think about business models and use customer development to turn hypotheses into facts. But there is no process to teach how to get an epiphany. We can only try to create the conditions where this might occur.
Why do so many great companies fail? Professor Clay Christensen of the Harvard Business School argued they fail because of something he called The Innovator’s Dilemma – a term he popularized to describe the way in which smart companies become prisoners of their own innovation.
A new list of the best companies in the world includes huge polluters and companies that make deadly weapon technology. Is this what we’re calling ethical these days? Or is being labeled “ethical” available for a price?