There is usually time. That is, if you are spending time noticing what is changing. General Motors could have noticed what their competition was doing but chose not to until they got caught short, until it became an emergency scenario. Kodak as well had plenty of time to notice what was changing in their industry. Certainly they were in a much better position to identify new opportunities that would have helped them keep their market share. But corporate wheels move slowly, love the comfort zone and fall in love with their own assumptions.
One interesting area that is changing right this minute is the delivery of education- especially at the university level.
Colleges and universities have reached the point where cost outweighs the benefit for many who graduate only to find they are mercilessly unequipped to find meaningful employment in the work world. They are still wandering around their comfort zone while new digital, technical, and professional education modalities are starting to make noise in the space that only they have occupied.
Some interesting responses to stay competitive could be:
1. Change the university attitude that students are lucky to be there and focus on the student as a valued customer who is going to get everything he needs to be successful – at this point in time it takes a heck of a lot more than just a degree to get a toe in the door when getting a good job.
2. From the beginning of freshman year – help students understand their strengths and interests then work to connect those to areas of majors or minors.
3. By junior year require that students are working on their transition from student to the world of work that will give them the tools for a successful career.
4. Develop a mentor track using alums in new and interesting ways
5. Recreate the university as an institution of lifelong learning thereby creating new profit streams.