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Calculated Obsolescence

Being the one who makes your product, process, or service obsolete is the only way to prevent your competitor from doing so.

Innovating organizations spend neither time nor resources on defending yesterday. Systematic abandonment of yesterday alone can free the resources, and especially the scarcest resource of them all, capable people, for work on the new.

Your being the one who makes your product, process, or service obsolete is the only way to prevent your competitor from doing so. One major American company that has long understood and accepted this is DuPont. When nylon came out in 1938, DuPont immediately put chemists to work to invent new synthetic fibers to compete with nylon. It also began to cut nylon’s price—thus making it less attractive for would-be competitors to find a way around DuPont’s patents. This explains why DuPont is still the world’s leading synthetic-fiber maker, and why DuPont’s nylon is still in the market, and profitably so.

ACTION POINT: Cannibalize your own products before your competitor does.

Managing for the Future

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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