Innovation keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche shares a fascinating metaphor about a hill of opportunity to teach companies how to avoid complacency in business. He compares finding something you're good at to reaching the top of a hill. At the top of this hill, you are the best at what you do. Jeremy suggests that it's easier to stay on top of this hill than to find a new place to climb.
He uses the example of typewriter company Smith Corona to further illustrate this point:
"For Smith Corona, their hill was the world of typewriters. At any point in time, the company's innovation teams could make a better typewriter. But any other project would seem like a failure by comparison.
In retrospect, the computing opportunity seems obvious, but making kick-ass typewriters prevented Smith Corona from seeing any other opportunity."
Finding new opportunities -- and avoiding complacency in business -- requires companies to try new things and to fail. The key though, according to Gutsche, is to stay committed to the pursuit of something new.
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