What Drives Digital Innovation?
How could Instagram create an app worth $1 billion while Kodak, the grandfather of photography, went belly up? When it comes to innovation, business experts say culture is the key.
What's the Latest Development?
Instagram, a mobile phone app which costs nothing to use and has no revenue stream, has been purchased by Facebook for $1 billion. Meanwhile, Kodak has gone broke. Why was a company so steeped in the culture of photography unable to create a successful digital photo app? Michael Hawley, who sits on Kodak's board and formerly worked at MIT's Media Lab, says the essential difference is business culture: "It’s a little like asking why Hasbro didn’t do Farmville, or why McDonald’s didn’t start Whole Foods. Cultural patterns are pretty hard to escape once you get sucked into them."
What's the Big Idea?
A former Polaroid executive once compared large-scale innovation to trying to change a car's fan belt without stopping the motor. Even if the idea for Instagram had been proposed at Kodak, it is easy to imagine that the project would have been killed, given that it has never had a revenue stream. "Companies that try to change the fan belt while the engine is still moving usually end up losing a few fingers," just as Netflix did last year when it tried to transition to digital downloads. In the end, Facebook may have taken the wisest step in buying a new engine, even at the cost of $1 billion.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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