The collapse of film giant Kodak in 2012 is already established to many as the definitive case study of the failure of a business convinced its model would last forever. At its peak, Kodak’s share of the photographic film market was more than 80% in the US and 50% globally. So, when a Kodak employee invented the first digital camera in the 1970s, he was told by the board to keep quiet about it. Denial took hold right up until January 2017 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Reborn as a tiny, niche player with a few lucrative patents these days, annual profits for Kodak now are around $12m.
The lesson? Adapt or die. If innovators stop innovating, problems follow. Just ask Nokia and BlackBerry. This, on a much smaller scale, could be an existential crisis that the legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry may have to face.