Why big companies squander good ideas

Sony's Walkman (top) and Kodak's film rolls (above) were once successful products. But, both companies took a hit when they failed to respond effectively to technological change, say some experts.
Sony's Walkman (above) and Kodak's film rolls were once successful products. But, both companies took a hit when they failed to respond effectively to technological change, say some experts.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG
Sony's Walkman (top) and Kodak's film rolls (above) were once successful products. But, both companies took a hit when they failed to respond effectively to technological change, say some experts.
Sony's Walkman and Kodak's film rolls (above) were once successful products. But, both companies took a hit when they failed to respond effectively to technological change, say some experts.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

The failure of Kodak, Xerox, Sony and the British Army in capitalising on path-breaking innovations offers clues

British Army officer J. F. C. Fuller did not invent the tank.

That distinction should probably fall to Australian Lancelot Eldin de Mole, who approached the British War Office in 1912 with a design that was - in the words of historians Kenneth Macksey and John Batchelor - "so convincingly similar to those which finally went into service that one wonders why it was never adopted from the outset".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 09, 2018, with the headline 'Why big companies squander good ideas'. Print Edition | Subscribe