How important is it for the company to find the right timing to embrace a new technology or penetrate a new market? What happens if it fails in its attempt to break new ground? Does it matter whether or not it is in a new market first? How can a company recover from a failed investment and not get derailed? These are key questions in today’s dynamic and changeable marketplace as it evolves in multiple directions, often prodded by unexpected events in a wider economy. A professor of management and organizations at New York University Stern School of Business, J.P. Eggers is the right person to address these issues having spent the last couple of years researching industry evolution problems in great depth and consulting companies about its implications.
One of the world’s best business school professors under 40 and an ex fire eater at a circus (no pun intended), J.P. Eggers is focused on working out threats and opportunities presented as companies need to deal with changing industry marketplace. His courses and programs has generated a massive wave of recognition from students and company insiders alike mostly for tailoring them to their practical needs, rather than staying locked in the ivory tower of the academia.
Eggers is convinced that a large threat to companies that have failed with a new technology or in a new field is a sense of inertia that often encompasses them in the aftermath of the failure. The result is unwillingness to engage in risky ventures and reduced interest in new investments as the organization is consumed by the desire to come to terms with wrong- headed strategic decisions it had taken. One way to move out of this trap is what he calls strategic recovery. The outstanding example is IBM’s failure to shine in the market of plasma screens and the company’s successful strategic reorganization leading to its supremacy in the market of LCD displays, a technology that took off on a large scale. Unlike IBM, which managed to turn itself around on the lessons from a related failure, many companies do poorly for years to come as if dazed by the crushing blow that they have received by taking the wrong turning. Eggers distils his insight in this area in the form of powerful executive training sessions.
On the other end of the extreme, Eggers has give a thorough thought to the idea of first- mover advantage. It describes a situation when the first company to provide a service or a product benefits from feedback from knowledgeable early consumers and is capable of surging ahead as the industry evolves. Others, who do not have this timing advantage, are left to struggle with early stage issues. This has great relevance in today’s marketplace that is characterized by intense innovation. For example, Apple draws the majority of its revenue from products that are no more than three years old, a testament to how the life cycle of success in business has shortened and how important industry entry timing and technology entry timing have become.