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The Final Puzzle: Seeing the Deal and Dealing With the Unforeseeable






integration) that must be kept in balance while managing the company. Second, Adizes shows that the proper balance point for these factors will always be changing even within a single lifecycle stage because of internal and external forces that can bring about failure. Finally, Adizes states that, in order to avoid failure, the CEO or other business leaders must constantly be aware of what that ideal balance between these factors should be, and they must anticipate and plan for evolution of this

balance point.

A third model that deals with corporate failure, and that is much more specific to the world of product innovation businesses was written by Geoffrey Moore and entitled Crossing the Chasm.51 The essential thesis of Moore’s book is that mainstream – high-volume – customers are generally cautious against buying new products that are very different than products they have purchased in the past. Indeed, any market can be divided into a few categories from the early adopters who will readily grab onto anything that is new and flashy, to the late adopters who will only buy a product many years after its first introduction, and after it has become the new market standard.

The main conclusion of Moore’s book is that most product innovation businesses fail because they only market to the small segment of early adopters and fail to fully understand the needs of the dominant and much larger remaining segments of the market.

Moore provides several specific examples of new products that failed simply because they never crossed the chasm of market acceptance from the early adopter mentality of “I will buy anything that is new and different” to the late adopter mentality of “I will only buy something new when it is the last resort.” Although sales to the early adopter market could be significant and worthy of pursuit, in and of itself, Moore’s main

51 Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers, by Geoffrey Moore, Collins Business Books (2006)

The Inventor’s Puzzle, Copyright © 2009 by Mark Lake


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