Strategy + Business published an article about Adidas reconnecting with its past in order to inspire its future. It reminded me of a discussion we had this week while we were “ideating” for the future of one of our organization’s business units; I mentioned the unit’s “legacy” and how this presents challenges and opportunities for the organization going forward.
In the cited article, the authors talk about how Apple, Adidas, Lego, Burberry and others came to a point where each company:
…realized that it had a distinctive history rich with memories, experiences, and signature processes that could be used to design the future — not through a slavish adherence to tradition, but through thinking differently about strategy, innovation, and products.
People and organizations all go through moments when they fail. Sometimes organizations never recover and slowly become irrelevant to their stakeholders. Case in point: Netflix vs. Blockbuster.
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Last year at the Peter Drucker Global Forum I heard Nilofer Merchant talk about “seeing around corners” in order to understand what we should expect as leaders of organizations. For those companies who have a legacy, a history, a track-record, a story, a “tribe” – sometimes it is a matter of looking at “signature” products/services/processes/experiences in a new way. Successful businesses (past, present and future) connect with stakeholders in a unique way: bringing out the best and brightest of the brand, its clients and the overall organization.