There's a thoughtful piece in this week's Economist reviewing Repeatability – a new book by two Bain alumni: Chris Zook and James Allen. the central thesis is a very sensible one – that sticking to what you are good at and being very, very good at it is central to long term success.
They use lots of good examples to demonstrate that simplicity and staying true to your core is the key. However, Schumpeter points to examples like Nokia of seemingly invincible businesses like: Kodak, Xerox and Nokia being crushed by the "next big thing".
Is the publishing industry potentially the next big victim? In the face of innovations on e-publishing and even on-demand book printing they are fighting a vigorous rearguard to protect their existing business model. To an external observer – it looks unlikely that they will succeed.
Maybe they have just mis-defined the business they're in?
We work with clients all the time to identify the core essence of what they deliver to consumers – and explore what their sustainable USP could be. Maybe that's what the publishing industry needs.