When Industries Transition, Innovation Is King

A few weeks ago California, the nation’s largest auto market, announced a ban on new gasoline-powered cars, marking a turning point in the automotive industry.

The policy will force the industry to speed up on electric cars  or risk getting left in the dust. While some in the industry won’t innovate fast enough, other automakers and dealers who embrace this evolution  will inevitably thrive.

How do I know? Every industry faces its own transition where companies have an opportunity to come out stronger than before. Smart companies learned something from when Beta moved to VHS, then to DVDs and beyond. And as the pandemic upended QSRs and many other industries, those that had a backbone in innovation found ways to thrive.

With this in mind, how can companies predict, embrace and lean into their own industry transition?

Innovation can solve the toughest of challenges. While many companies try to implement consistent processes that work year after year, staying loyal to old systems can hinder progress. As the world and industries change at faster rates, business leaders should be open to adopting new strategies that work with the modern business landscape.



The more open and agile a company is, the more likely it is to attract great and new talent, and appeal to consumers.

While the old way might be fine and keep things moving, there are usually opportunities to find new efficiencies or areas for growth. Don’t be closed off to implementing new strategies. Instead, learn to thrive with new ideas, welcoming them into your everyday thinking as a company.

Take a risk when you’re doing well. There’s a danger for a company that’s been profitable. While it sounds like a comfy space to be in, it’s common to get too comfortable with that status quo.

Of course, it’s great to embrace what’s working, but often what is working today will change.

Companies that are doing well should use that time as a valuable opportunity to think about tomorrow, without the looming pressure of being left behind. It’s an opportunity to expand on ideas centered around what’s next, rather than waiting until you’ve hit a bump in the road.

Whether that means discussing new approaches to business or pivoting the types of products or services offered, you’re benefiting from doing so in an environment where you have time and resources.

Redeploy your assets, renew your budget, reinforce your brand. As brands face a cash crunch, CFOs are scouring every corner to unlock capital and strengthen their balance sheets, while CMOs face budget cuts at a time when market visibility is critical.

Often an arduous corporate housecleaning results in the same conclusion: “We have lots of assets, but we can’t use them to generate growth.”

But you can use assets to generate growth.For innovative companies, redeploying can be a smart business strategy. Water bottles become fleece jackets. Plastic grocery bags turn into composite lumber. Fishing nets convert to skateboards.

Think creatively about underperforming assets, and free up capital to invest in new, innovative ideas.

1 comment about "When Industries Transition, Innovation Is King".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, November 3, 2022 at 4:17 a.m.

    Barry, a great set of reminders about some business fundamentals relevant to the bottom-lines of nearly every endeavor. 

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