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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: Corporate Darwinism: Q&A With IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger



Re: Corporate Darwinism: Q&A With IBM's Irving Wladawsky-Berger
Posted by: Blake Glenn 2008-12-20 08:44:53
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Darwin's principle of "survival of the fittest" is in full effect in the corporate world. Over the years, many companies, especially technology firms, have risen to great heights only to fall to great depths. As Darwin's theory implies, when change swept through their industries, these once great firms couldn't keep pace and eventually disappeared, either to be gobbled up by more powerful foes, to sink into oblivion as a shell of their former selves, or to become defunct. Irving Wladawsky-Berger makes this observation in his blog, and in an interview with the ECT News Network.


Darwin's Principle and IBM
Posted by: MIKEGORF 2008-12-20 09:16:28 In reply to: Blake Glenn
I worked with and for Irving in the mid-nineties at IBM. A few years earlier, IBM was on the brink of extinction because of several executives' arrogance and stupidity. Irving's leadership was key in re-establishing innovation as part of the IBM framework.

At the time, much of the innovation from IBM Research and the Academic Information Systems special business unit was being totally ignored by the self-centered executives. When Lou Gerstner became CEO, he recognized the importance of innovation and Irving was asked to build an Internet development organization using these "hidden" resources.

If Irving and his team had not succeeded, IMHO, IBM would also have fallen prey to Darwin's principle.

I haven't listened to the whole interview and don't know the extent to which Irving might have discussed IBM's situation. If not, I think the interviewer should have delved into what was happening to IBM at that time and how the leadership of Irving and others enabled the re-emergence of innovation at IBM. Doing so would give other companies a real example of how to turn around failing businesses.
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