Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dovetailing Competitive Analysis and Innovation Crucibles

In reading through the Competitor Analysis: Understand Your Opponents document, I kept thinking about the types of competitive analysis that companies do or do not do.  For example, was BlackBerry fully aware that Apple was going to invade their smartphone market space?  Was Blockbuster aware that Netflix was going to revolutionize the way that entertainment is acquired and consumed?  Reading about competitive analysis and then seeing time and time again how companies fail to assess their competitors makes me wonder if their Business Development teams were asleep at the wheel.  Moreover, and more importantly, which companies are currently at risk? 

Dovetailing future predictions of innovation with the search for competition can help mitigate potential blind spots, but can also make matters more complex.  For example, the deluge of data /information, lack of talent, global connectedness, sustainability, and coordination of government entities are all urgent matters that companies will have to address.  Those that are up to the challenge can---among other things---take advantage of the analytical insights that can be gleamed from data, win the war for talent, and leverage the planet’s connectedness.  Those that are not aware of their competitors or emerging market dynamics may have to succumb to lower returns for their stakeholders at best or be made extinct due to new market forces at worst. 

A couple of forward-looking scenarios that have themes from both documents are noted below:

FedEx / UPS – Will drones and/or other fully mechanized delivery systems (e.g., drones) eat into shipping and logistics business’ market share?  For a period of time, the U.S. government (FAA) had a ban on these.

Doctors – Will future versions of Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci system eliminate the need for surgeons?  Will the U.S. government (FDA) impact these types of innovation?

Traditional Brick and Mortar Universities – The total cost of higher education is too big to ignore; will future seekers of education prefer 1) institutions that offer less expensive distance learning; 2) programs that are fully online and do not [necessarily] grant degrees (e.g., Coursera and Udacity); 3) international start-ups from emerging economies that leverage less expensive talent?

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