Kodak’s Surprisingly Long Journey towards Strategic Renewal: A Half Century of Exploring Digital Transformation in the Face of Uncertainty and Inertia
Strategy & Business Policy
Speaker: Natalya VINOKUROVA
Assistant Professor The Wharton School-U.of Pennsylvania
Kodak’s failure to transition from film to digital technology has become a canonical example of an established, industry-dominant firm failing in the face of an industry transition. Our analysis of the decisions made by Kodak managers in anticipation of the industry transition to digital technology points to the need for greater consideration of the role played by uncertainty, adjustment costs, and luck in technological transitions. Far from being locked into Kodak’s identity as a film manufacturer or a photography company, its managers anticipated technological change and invested broadly in a range of strategic alternatives that could have allowed Kodak to weather the technological transition. Understanding why these efforts fell short of staving off the company’s demise is critical for informing future decision-making.