Staying Current in an Ever-Changing Marketplace

innovateThe world of design is constantly changing. Everywhere around you, things look widely different than they did just a few years ago. Take a look at the styling of cars from the 1990s and compare them to the cars of today and you will notice a sharp contrast in the line designs that were preferred then compared to now.

The same goes for the digital world. What was once popular and even considered a necessity in the area of basic website design is all but obsolete now. Add on top of that the vast new considerations that must be added to accompany technologies no one thought possible in the 1990s. Who would have thought that the capabilities to stream, wirelessly movies, TV shows, video clips directly onto your phone from websites and apps. These considerations add on a layer of technological requirements to build mobile friendly and responsive websites that can adjust to a smaller screen that a phone or tablet might display.

So, how do you stay ahead in a marketplace that is constantly changing?

The short and unappealing answer is you don’t.

Even the most innovative companies cannot continuously time and time again be ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating market moves. Apple is a classic example. From the first release of the iPod is 2001 to 2010 they were on the vanguard of virtually every new and innovate product. They dominated the tech market for nearly an entire decade. However, after the death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs, the company has struggled to prove itself as a true innovator and has released products that are not exactly on the cutting edge of the mobile phone market. Some even say that Apple has fallen beyond its competitors and is desperately trying to play catch up.

Microsoft is another classic example. Microsoft anticipated the personal computing boom and Internet browser market like no other company. In the 1980s and 1990s, they were able to completely seize control of the market, yet throughout the 2000s they lost their competitive advantage and continue to this day to lose their once dominant market share.

So what’s the point of all this? What is the solution?

The solution is creative destructive. In the technology space, there will always be ebb and flows in the market and new technologies emerging and it’s our job to anticipate them. Companies may not always be right, but when they are, they will reap the rewards. Failure is never a bad thing in business—so long as you learn from it. The most important thing in technology is to never place all of your eggs in one basket because before you know it that basket may become obsolete.

Of course there is a risk-reward calculus that needs to be made. If you put out all of your eggs in one basket and you turn out to be right, you will likely see the Microsoft-type results of the 1990s. Shortly thereafter, however, you might experience the Microsoft-type results of the 2000s. In technology, in design, and in web development, we need to embrace creative destruction more so than any other sector. Our future businesses depend on it.