Doblin’s Larry Keeley wisely cautions companies not to focus too much attention on innovating specific new products or services and, instead, look to new platforms for disrutptive spurts of growth. We have two new such platforms with us now—Jimmy Wales new collaborative concept for search and Sony’s Blu-ray format that will probably become the new high definition format thanks to Warner Brothers’ decision to go with it rather than the Toshiba/Microsoft HD-DVD.
The key with innovating new platforms is to make them as open as possible to new applications—as fast as possible. I have no doubt that Jimmy Wales will do that—open source is his ideology. Indeed, he is opening the algorithm for Wikia Search, in contrast to Google.
Sony, however, likes closed systems and expanding the Blu-ray platform to other companies and applications will prove a huge challenge. Sony is still engineer-driven, focussed on new technology and early adapters. Moving beyond that has been very difficult for Sony. Blu-ray gives Sony yet another shot—perhaps its last—to get back into the big leagues. It has to make high definition Blu-ray easily available through licensing to companies making movie DVDs, computers, games—all of it. Sony CEO Howard Stringer recently said that driving innovation was his biggest goal. Now he has a big platform to drive very big innovation and profits.
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