A Crisis Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
Samsung preaches the gospel of perpetual crisis. That’s why forty percent of employees work in research and development looking for the nextbreakthrough. That’s why deadlines are never changed. It’s why design teamsvolunteer to live and work 24 hours a day in their Innovation Center. Theypursue perfection against the clock until they deliver. The result? Over 1600patents each year, the industry’s lowest costs, highest profits, and weeklyannouncements of the "world's first" or “world's best".
People need some reason to make tough choices. Organizations find it evenharder to make progress without knowing that it "has to", and will usually waituntil a real crisis comes along before getting on with the hard stuff that isessential to moving forward.A crisis is not the same as a disaster (although a disaster may prompt a crisis). It isas a ‘crucial or decisive point or situation’ or a ’turning point’. Such turning pointsforce a choice between inertia and innovation. When faced with a crisis ask: Howcan we use this crisis to inspire innovation?IKEA’s history is a sequence of such choices. Competition with other mail orderfirms led to its first showroom. Supplier boycotts led to it designing and buildingits own furniture. Transportation problems led to the flat pack concept. Ashowroom fire led to a much bigger showroom concept. Insufficient numbers of sales people at the showroom launch led to the self-service idea. It would havebeen easy to waste each crisis but instead they inspired innovation.Waiting for a real crisis to drive innovation may not allow enough time orresources for new ideas to save the company. By the time anyone recognizes areal crisis, it may be too late to do anything about it. Even if the companysurvives, the real crisis does not happen often enough to motivate continuousimprovement, progress, or growth.
You can look into the future.
What may endanger your company? Whatproducts could your competitors launch? What new laws may challenge theway your company does business? How will customer-needs develop?What do you have to better to thrive in the future?