A lot of people talk about the need for a new kind of business model and the spinout from universities and the small firm and the entrepreneurial small firm. That’s been the talk of the last 20 or 30 years, has it not? And yet, here we have IBM, which is a terrifically old company and has gone through many generations of technologies, but it is obviously the same corporate entity, the same high-level innovator. There are lots of different kinds of successful innovating firms.
One way of putting it is that the danger is not just in believing that there has been one model in the past and there should be one model in the future. It’s believing that we actually understand the history of technology, of processes of discovery, of what was in use and of invention, as well.
Edward Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org), former editor of CIO Insight magazine, is a contributing editor to strategy+business.