If you refuse to innovate, you choose irrelevance.

I loved rocking my yellow sports walkman and remember mowing extra lawns to buy my first disc man that lasted all of a few hours on 4 aa batteries.  I loved those things because they were IT. They were the cutting edge and they dripped of cool.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TrPwOrf4sM]

I used to also love Union Hall, Chess King, Blockbuster, K's Merchandise and Machesney Park Mall (local thing).  They were helpful, convenient and added value to my life.  They also helped me rock some killer Umen club and Z Cavaricci gear.

The difference, though, between those companies and companies like Nike, Apple, Target and Ford is their refusal to innovate. What they did worked.  What they did succeeded. What they did had tons of traction. The issue is that while they were enjoying quarterly profits (albeit shrinking ones), the world was shifting. And it was shifting at a pace that was making their decisions increasingly irrelevant. One day, they woke up and realized digital took over and what always "was" isn't what was "going to be."  Kodak tanked.  Nikon, barely made it. And many times, the titans or even creators of an industry were left looking pretty stone age.

Just this past week, Newsweek announced that it would discontinue it's print magazine and be strictly digital.  Bold move. There are plenty of magazines that are both digital and print, but very few if any (good) ones that are digital only. That isn't the point though.  What Newsweek decided was that instead of living on the coast, it was time to embrace the unknown and push westward.  There will be naysayers and they will realize that the first through the wall is always the bloodiest, but they understood the age old principle.

If you refuse to innovate, you choose irrelevance.

In your organization, what needs to shift? What new technologies do you need to embrace? Push forward with wisdom, but do push.  Don't be intrigued by every shiny new gimmick, tool or social media network.

I challenge you to get some twenty somethings around you and ask them where people are communicating today.  Do you have a voice there? You may not innately "get it." Find someone who does.

Remember.

Kodak didn't get digital.  Blockbuster didn't get kiosks. Dell didn't get consumers.

You've heard people say that what you don't know won't kill you.  That's a lie. The truth is what you don't know blinded by what you think you know may be the very thing that kills you.

Well done, Newsweek.

Your move, Time.