No-one ever got fired for buying IBM
It’s a long time since those words were last genuinely used to describe the state of the market, rather than as a management axiom. But sometimes, it’s worth remembering where these time-worn phrases come from, and recognising the approach that makes IBM such a reliable and long-lasting brand.
Greg Satell has written a great post about IBM’s approach to innovation on the Innovation Excellence site, pointing out that despite the company’s sometimes chequered past, it remains at the top of the list of companies receiving US Patents for the 23rd year in a row. That’s quite an amazing statistic, especially when you consider that it is 50% ahead of the second company on the list, Samsung.
To find out what makes IBM such a consistent innovator, Greg looks at the company’s history, its unconstrained approach to innovation, and most importantly in our view, its focus on collaboration:
“The key to how IBM innovates is that it manages to create collaboration among all the moving parts—not only internally, but externally as well—into a key competitive advantage. Because it actively works across the innovation ecosystem, it is able to see things—and act on them—earlier.”
What the case of IBM makes clear is that disruptive innovation isn’t solely the preserve of young, agile start-ups: an open, collaborative approach means any organisation, from the largest institution to the smallest SME, can play a part.