What do BlackBerry, Blockbuster, Kodak and Smith Corona all have in common?
They all stared massive opportunity in the face, but failed to capitalize on it as they chose to repeat and optimize rather than pivot for the future, said Jeremy Gutsche, founder of Trend Hunter and Tuesday afternoon's evenings keynote speaker at the Best of Breed Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Companies tend to want to protect and double down on investments on what has led to success in the past, Gutsche said, but in doing that, they often fail to see the opportunity right in front of them.
For example, Blockbuster missed the opportunity to capitalize on the video-streaming revolution, passing up multiple chances to buy Netflix because it lacked a retail presence.
Gutsche compared this type of company to a farmer who becomes complacent with success and is protective of and repeats things that have led to wins in the past. Instead, he urged top solution providers in the audience to become hunters, who have an insatiable desire to see what's next, are curious to try new ideas and willing to destroy what has worked in the past to build for the future.
"After 10,000 years of evolution as farmers, once you or your clients find your field of opportunity ... you are pre-wired to repeat and optimize whatever led to last year's harvest," Gutsche said. "To break out of that, you need to help your brands awaken your inner hunter… and capture those ideas."
The trick, Gutsche said, is to ask tough questions of your business, such as:
• What are you trying to achieve?
• What is your end goal?
• What part of your business do your end users care about?
• If you were to split your company into five pieces, which would be the most valuable and why?
• Who can you collaborate with?
• Why would a client prioritize your services over other investments?
By asking these types of questions, Gutsche said solution providers can adapt in a way that positions themselves for trends five years down the road, instead of only the ones impacting them today.
"The more you offer that kind of value, the more you differentiate because you're no longer my technology solution, you're my solution to the pace of change," Gutsche said.