The Corporate Blind Spot

The blind spot is a particular area in the visual field without light-detecting photoreceptor cells. In other words, you won’t be able to see anything that falls within the specific region of your blind spot.

As individuals this evolutionary defect poses threats to our safety and well-being. Similarly to humans, companies also meet the challenge of having to deal with whatever lands on their blind spot. And in the same manner, this can bring up threats for the organization’s survival.

What is residing in your corporation's blind spot?

Nowadays, technology and digitalization have brought the bar to market entry lower than ever before. It has never been as easy to start a company. Equipped with a faster and easier access to funding, expert advice and hi-tech tools, startups are becoming more than just a young group of people with fresh ideas – they turn into industry disruptors.

Corporate mentality dictates that if you have the money, technical resources, market share and the share prices are stable, there is no need to worry, let alone change or look behind the organization’s shoulder. In many cases this naïve feeling of safety causes industries to underestimate the potential impact that small entrepreneurs can have on business. Moreover, despite the obvious evidence and pointers around them, companies are still poorly prepared to recognize or defend themselves from startups that lay in their blind spot waiting for the right opportunity.

Think about the not-so-small-anymore companies like Booking.com, Slack, AirBnB, Snapchat, Pinterest (and the list goes on), which used to reside under the corporate radar before they skyrocketed to billion dollar valuations virtually overnight. The truth is that small companies pose as much threats as big, well-established on the market competitors. In the age of unicorn companies, big organizations can’t allow themselves to overlook what is happening around them anymore.

Why creating disruption is easier for startups rather than corporations?

Having financial and technological resources no longer ensures having the top hand. Resources are easier to acquire, but having the right organizational culture and flexibility that allows for innovative ideas to come to live is harder to create. In startups CEOs and employees work hand in hand to create the end product. Unlike in big organizations, ideas are not being killed by bureaucracy but rather are nurtured to grow into successful ventures.

Corporates don’t understand the logic behind having a “creative chaos” or at least not process-wise. They stick to known models that work and stray away from any deviation that brings the feeling of losing control. But disruptive innovation is not born while playing safe. And while corporates overthink and overanalyze, startups act.

Does the rise of entrepreneurs bring the fall of corporations?

Today, we often say that corporations should act more like startups if they want to survive. But being the complex systems they are, it is difficult for big companies to do so. Moreover, it is unnecessary as chances are that they still will be outrun by smaller entrepreneurs.

That doesn’t mean that big companies are surely destined to be pushed out of their market positions by the smaller market disruptors. The secret for corporate survival is to be on the lookout for opportunities to combine forces and collaboratively come up with new products and services that will disrupt the market. The question is not if company A prevails over company B, rather why not have a scenario of a company AB?

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