Kodak Two-Tracks Innovation--The New InkJet Printer May Be Revolutionaray But is it Revolutionary Enough?

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on February 6, 2007

Our previous issue of IN had Kodak on it’s cover with the title—Mistakes Made on the Road to Innovation. It was an insightful look at how CEO Antonio Perez was struggling to reinvent the venerable company’s business model and it was written by that great journalist Steve Hamm. Steve is back covering Kodak’s new venture in the inkjet market with what promises to be a revolutionary new kind of printer.

Kodak hopes to beat HP at the printer game (Perez originally came from HP and the Hamm story goes into deep detail as to how he arrived at the new technology for the printer from his start at HP).

For me, one of the key questions now is how this new venture effects Kodak’s business model. On the one hand, Kodak has this new, basically manufacturing printing business which fits very well with its traditional DNA of making and retailing film. But it is also trying to remake itself as a service company by doing to images what Apple did to music—build a web-based service to manage your photo library.

Can the two business models live in the same corporate culture? Is Kodak buidling two separate organizations to focus on two separate businesses? Will the new printer business, which faces incredible competition from HP, take up the time/energy/resources of the service business? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think Perez needs to ask them. They are at the core of whether or not Kodak can get its innovation mojo back.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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