Some factors that indicate a product or organisation is peaking

Some organisations become a victim of their own success and size. As their success grows, so does the size of the organisation, and the thinking evolves from innovation to protecting the successful product, services, etc. The organisations become, at best, maintainers rather than innovators.This is more obvious in industries with rapidly changing technology. Some examples include the watch industry in Switzerland not taking up the digital technology, IBM and Dell in computers, Yahoo as a search engine, smart phones with Nokia, Zynga in mobile games, etc. Are Microsoft, Apple, Facebook & Google next?

For example, Dell initially disrupted the PC industry when it introduced build-to-order and direct online sales; over the years it became the industry leader. But the industry landscape changed, eg mobile phones becoming minicomputers, etc and they remained stuck within a commoditised PC market.

One firm that has used digital technology to change the way it does business is Disney, ie its clients are no longer BBC or RTZ but iTunes, Google, PlayStation and Microsoft. There was a proliferation of channels/platforms/devices, etc wanting to deliver Disney's content and this put Disney in a position of power. The new technologies opened up commercial opportunities and new revenue streams, eg

" could look at the way in which programs were sold; they could be sold to one person for one platform for one experience and later to somebody else for a different experience......Disney was the first company to put long form episodes on the defines how content is created, how it is distributed and how it is consumed...... if you have a platform that can't respond to the sort of digital expectations of the consumer, you are in trouble..."
Catherine Powell as quoted by Joanne Gray, 2016a

It is about connecting all the lines of Disney's business that go under the one brand like stage shows, retail and licensing products, release of films, programming and distributing TV channels, theme parks, etc


"...The essence of innovation is also obsolescence..."

Allan Gray as quoted by Vesna Poljak, 2013

In addition to becoming maintainers rather than innovators, other indicators of being victims of their own success and size are increase focus on

incremental improvement of current products rather than creative destruction or disruption, eg making cosmetic changes like colour/size of product, rather than technological

bureaucracy, ie less flexible with more hierarchical, process-focussed, rules & regulations orientated, etc

silo performance, ie organisation becomes more specialised, segmented, departmentalised, etc with focus on groups rather than whole organisation's performance

abuse of market power to protect the status quo, eg monopolistic activities, anti-trust charges, etc, Some examples include

i) Microsoft has paid US $3.4 b. in fines to European courts over a decade

ii) Intel is appealing its anti-trust case that started around 2000

iii) Google is fighting the EU anti-trust regulator's claim it has illegally abused its market dominance (2015)

buying competitor or products/services/staff, etc from other innovative, successful organisations for market share, revenue, etc rather than innovating themselves like Apple's iTune buying Beats to keep its position in music industry and Microsoft buying Nokia to get into the mobile phone business, etc

Some other factors that indicate that a product or organisation is peaking, ie at the top of the S-curve, include

become more complacent, ie satisfied with the status quo

- one or more players dominate the industry or market
 and do not see the need to change

- there are significant staff layoffs 

start selling assets, especially core 

written up as a successful product/organisation, ie the success "goes to their heads" and they think they are invincible 


"...Even something that has had a long term success, it's only a knife edge away from failure..."

Steven Lowry as quoted by Jemima Whyte, 2015

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