compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
to have seen its market position devastated
of their consumers and economic turmoil.
As DAN ATKINSON reported on the -
– ironic, given that it has been credited with inventing the digital
camera in the 1970s. It may have sought refuge from the decline
in film photography in businesses where its understanding was
not perfect, including medical diagnostics.
And its recent strategy of trying to sell digital imaging patents,
while pursuing intellectual property lawsuits to raise cash to expand in consumer and
commercial printers, has yet to deliver the goods.
But Kodak is not alone in its woes and there are lessons to be drawn from how others
responded to the march of history. Britain’s Rank Group, for example, has for more than
70 years been in and out of film-making, photocopiers, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs,
holiday camps – it owned Butlins – cinema ownership and radio and television making.
Today it is a gaming company involved in bingo, casinos and phone and internet
bookmaker Blue Square.
During more than a century of existence, Finland’s Nokia progressed from rubber
products to electricity supply, conventional telephone services and a powerful position
in mobile communication devices. Today it is fighting to retain its position after
smartphones supplanted mobile phones in popularity.
Chris Roebuck, visiting professor of transformational leadership at Cass Business School
in London, said:
‘The problem with sitting on a dominant market position is that you may continue
to deliver what the market has ceased to demand and you end up behind the curve'
Elsewhere in high technology, Hewlett-Packard has stayed on top of the computer game
by transforming itself from a computer firm into a supplier of must-have electronics.
A neat trick involves a business remaining best known for its original activity while
mining more profitable areas. At Reuters, now Thomson Reuters, the news agency
revenues are overshadowed by those from its financial information and market services
Not every tale ends happily. Bookshop Borders was pummelled by online book sales and
e-books and went bust. Most of furniture chain Habitat went into administration last
year. Other victims include Focus DIY, Oddbins and Woolworths.
Polaroid, once also a big name in photography, saw its instant-picture business brought
to its knees by the digital age. Its last plant closed in 2008 as it filed for bankruptcy.
Former employees have brought Polaroid back to life. It is a niche product, but that
has to be better than having no product at all."
How the story would end for Kodak was not clear then but the Eastman
from the purgatory of the last 18 months in bankruptcy.
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