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Business transformation: incumbents must not assume the right to win

IbyIMD+ Published 1 May 2023 in Audio articles • 13 min read • Audio availableAudio available

Many established companies believe that past triumphs and their strength in the marketplace entitle them to future success. But it’s not that simple. After two years of research, Winter Nie, Ivy Buche and Mahwesh Khan explain how to stay on top in a fast-changing world. 

Business transformation has become commonplace in the corporate world, especially for incumbents. Pick up an annual report of any large, well-established business and you are bound to see some sort of a transformation underway – be it BMW and Toyota trying to adapt to the collaborative economy by shaping mobility solutions, or shipping companies such as Maersk and MSC shifting their business model from selling capacity to providing end-to-end logistics.  

But do these incumbents have “the right to win” in the new arena? Our research has shown that while incumbents believe that the answer is a solid yes, it is rarely so straightforward.  

Incumbents simply assume that they have a right to win based on their historic success, brand strength, high quality products and services, and deep pockets. They feel extremely secure in their ability to create the necessary organizational conditions to succeed in the future.  

Herein lies a dangerous blind spot. The assumed right to…

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