Who control the future? # Com 546

10 Apr

I am always curious about why some people could predict what will happen or have confidence that he or she is leading the company on the right path to success? Until I read the first chapter “How to use theory to analyze” in a book called “Seeing What’s Next” by Christensen, Anthony and Roth, I start having some concepts about the possible answers in my mind. The content is not very abstruse and provides interesting and meaningful points that push me to think about how those successful companies have been applying the rules he mentioned in the book.

I like the author divided four groups (Undershot customers / Nonconsumers / Overshot customers / Nonmarket contexts) that have opportunities to make change of market. I have never thought about why the innovations will happen and how they happened. The four groups indicate various conditions that stimulate changes and innovations. I also felt inspired when reading these chapters, especially when I saw the quote “There are two generic strategies for creating competitive advantage: differentiation and low cost.” I suddenly thought about many examples to match this rule. For differentiation, I believe that iPod/iPhone will be good instances. When everyone kept designing fancy appearance with buttons on their mp3 players; iPod overthrow the rules. Its simple and intuitive design captured users’ heart. It is unique and be different from other products. However, I believe that differentiation is not enough to beat other rivals. Good user experience is also important. Consumers will not buy the product just because it is different. Besides the different from other product to attract people’s eyeballs, I think user friendly is also a crucial element. For low cost, the term “Eee PC”  jumped in my head. Eee PC is a miniature laptop with only 7 to 12 inch screen, and the appearance is light and thin. The first Eee PC was designed by ASUS from Taiwan in 2007 and it immediately attracted consumers’ attention due to its cheap and easy carrying characters. I believe Eee PC successfully discover a new market from “overshot customers”. Since Internet became prevalent, the desire of browsing Internet everywhere became bigger. More and more people just want use their laptop to go to the Internet and do some easy tasks when browsing, for example, some copy or pasting works to collect information. Hence, those high end with tons of features but expensive laptops became overwhelming to the “overshot customers”. Eee PC found its market and became popular among the customers.

There is another new term from the book to me called “asymmetry”. Firms that have asymmetric motivations and asymmetric skills have opportunities to develop their own market share from the mainstream market. And usually, the incumbents are easy to fall into a trap that they want to cram the same ideas of entrants into their core product line. It reminds me that when I was working in my ex-company, they were trying to integrate their existing services with mobile because they have been sensing the threats and opportunities from mobile devices growth. However, the result of their mobile strategy was not very impressive. I can’t help thinking does my ex-company make some mistakes by reproducing the same pattern from their original success to the new market but resulted the failure? Although they created a spinout organization for the new market, they seem didn’t provide the total freedom for the new organization and let it develop its own value and follow its preparation regimen.

The part one of book also mentioned that governments often have huge power to create motivation and ability to the firms for the innovations, however it doesn’t always do it right. I believe it is a complicated issue and we should always evaluate various situations about the effects caused by governments’ policies carefully.

I still don’t know who could control the future, the first part of book doesn’t tell us either. However it provides the principles that guide people to approach the right direction to predict future. I felt grateful to know these theories and tried to apply them to some real experiences in my life. I think no one can predict future accurately every time, but after reading the book, I have confidence that I am gradually becoming a person that walking on the right path to the future.

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One Response to “Who control the future? # Com 546”

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  1. Reading Posts – Weeks 2 and 3 « COM546 : Evolutions - 04/12/2011

    […]  (week 3- […]

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