As part of our Cool Injected business series, we’re sharing a few of our favorite leadership, technology, marketing and customer service books that can help add horsepower to your business. This week’s book is “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business.”

For my book selection, I chose The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen.

From the book’s description:

“In this revolutionary bestseller, innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership—or worse, disappear altogether. And not only does he prove what he says, but he tells others how to avoid a similar fate.

Focusing on “disruptive technology,” Christensen shows why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.”

In the beginning phases of creating OPENLANE, this book proved to be an invaluable asset for me as an entrepreneur with a new technology. We knew there were many factors that could aid or deter our success, and this book helped us to be mindful of potential obstacles. From my vantage point, there are three important points this book highlights for business owners and entrepreneurs competing with new entrants and technologies:

  • New technologies can hinder established business: Technological innovations often start out seeming very basic or rudimentary, not threatening to established businesses. Simply put, it’s easy to dismiss them as insignificant. This spotlights the importance of staying up-to-date on emerging trends and technologies in the industry, no matter what the initial perceived value is.
  • Rapid adaptation can be difficult to combat: New technologies attract a small core group of followers and improve rapidly from there. For example, digital cameras led to the downfall of companies reliant on film-based products. When digital cameras first appeared, they weren’t very good or user-friendly, but they improved quickly. Then, smartphones appeared and had a similar effect on digital camera manufacturers. This reminds us that we needed to continuously improve our product and services in order to stay competitive in the market.
  • Established businesses can try to “do everything right,” yet still lose: The book draws on many examples of this occurrence in various industries. Following business models and practices that aided in past success may not always guarantee continued success. Regular evaluation of industry and technology trends allows businesses to identify opportunities for growth and developing competitive advantages.

If you’re interested in reading this book and discovering how you can remain competitive with new technologies, we’re giving away a copy! Enter your information below to enter. A winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday, May 10, 2013.

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