An essential function of every board is to ensure the future of the business. In days long past, a company could quietly continue doing what it had been doing for years and meet that ‘longevity’ requirement. These days, however, the need to embrace change and innovate is critical to every business in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
Will we ever forget Kodak and its amazing collapse, after being a highly successful business that neglected the need to change when digital photography was first introduced? The irony is that the technology was originally developed by Kodak in 1975 and was effectively discarded because Kodak feared it threatened its photographic film business. The digital and, at the time, much smaller companies took it on, and everything else is now history. Although this is a classic example and a tragic one for Kodak’s shareholders and staff, there are many other examples and are likely to be increasingly many more to come.