The business landscape of the 21st century is characterized by ever changing trends and events that happen with so much rapidity that they take most business leaders by surprise. Considering the high turnover of ideas and fads, it is no wonder that companiesâ€™ and their offerings in terms of products and services fail to click in the marketplace more often than not. Given this background it is not surprising that business leaders often throw up their hands in despair at this flux and uncertainty that affects the way their companies operate. Hence, it would be fair to say that the only constant in this century is change and companies and the leaders who lead them should be prepared to deal with change that is rapid and sudden at the same time.
We have discussed how innovation can take several forms ranging from slow and gradual improvements to sudden and discontinuous change. The bottom line for many companies is that they have to innovate to just stay ahead of the competition and it is no longer enough or sufficient to roll out a product a year or an improved version every now and then.
Such is the pace of change that companies like Apple and Google often release products and version along with software every few months so that customers are always a click away from the latest version. Given this high rate of change, it is not surprising that the legendary Bill Gates of Microsoft himself is unable to keep up with the torrent of new products and services that dominate the software landscape. Indeed, it is ironical that Bill Gates who is the author of the bestselling â€œBusiness at the Speed of Thoughtâ€ is somewhat anachronistic in this hyper speed age.
On the other hand, the future belongs to people like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who comes up with innovative and market shattering ideas so often that most commentators wonder about how he and his team can do it so often. It has been said that companies need to change internally and externally with such agility that the name of the game is change. And this is what Facebook does with its approach towards new product launches that surprise the stock markets and impress the users. Another company that has made a habit of constantly changing and keeping ahead of the competition is Intel which has so far managed to remain as a leader in its own right despite being around for a long time and in spite of its size.
The point here is that the Millennial Generation measures time by the nanoseconds and hence, they are in constant need of new products and services. And this is something that marketers and companies ought to recognize when they devise products and services for this generation. That is precisely what the companies mentioned above have been doing. Considering the shift in emphasis away from manufacturing towards services and application development as opposed to basic product development world over, it is time for companies to realize that the need for innovation and the speed at which they innovate remain the critical success factors to succeed in the marketplace of the 21st century. In conclusion, it is no longer the case that companies work 12 hours a day to keep up with the competition. Instead, those companies that can leverage the 24/7 culture and embrace the change wave would succeed.