The paper "Innovation & Change at Eastman Kodak Company" is a great example of a business case study. This report provides a critical evaluation of the management of innovation and changes at the Eastman Kodak Company (hereafter, Kodak), based on the discussion in the Harvard Business School case study, “ Kodak and the Digital Revolution” (Gavetti, Henderson & Giorgi, 2005). The analysis begins with a brief description of the company’ s history, followed by a brief review of key relevant concepts in innovation and change management. External and internal factors guiding change at Kodak are then described, and a descriptive analysis of Kodak’ s change management strategy is presented.
To conclude the evaluation, general lessons that can be learned from the Kodak experience are discussed. 2. Company Background The internationally-recognised Kodak name has its roots in the work of an American inventor, George Eastman, who perfected dry photographic film technology in 1878. By 1881 Eastman established a partnership with a family friend, Henry A. Strong, in Rochester, New York (the present-day location of Kodak’ s worldwide headquarters), and by 1888, the “ Kodak” name appeared in public with the introduction of the company’ s first portable camera.
The company grew steadily and diversified into a wide variety of film and imaging technologies over the years, producing some of the world’ s technological “ firsts” along the way: flexible film for movie cameras, instant photographic film, lithium batteries for consumer use, and improvements in digital photo technology (introduced by Sony in 1981) that made it more useful for consumers (Gavetti, et al. , 2005; Kodak, 2012). 3. Key Concepts in Change Management Before approaching the subject of change management, it is perhaps necessary to consider an even more basic concept relevant to the Kodak experience: Innovation.
Innovation can be defined as the creation of new value from existing assets, or the creation of completely new assets that provide value (Joshi, Joshi & Joshi, 2007). This is relevant to Kodak’ s case, because a great deal of change for the company throughout its history came as a result of innovation, creating new products and diversifying into different areas, such as pharmaceuticals and copiers (Gavetti, et al. , 2005). Innovation is often thought of as change or evolution in products and services, but Joshi, et al.
(2007) point out that innovation always involves change or evolution in processes and organisational structures as well. Managing innovation, therefore, is change management. Change management always follows a process, but the nature of the change determines whether the process is imposed on the firm, that is to say, whether it simply reacts to emergent change, or whether the change is planned change, a proactive path towards some future objectives (King & Anderson, 1995; Lewis, 2011). The Kodak experience as described in the case study by Gavetti, et al.
(2005) shows that both types of change, and consequently, different approaches to change management at different times, occurred throughout Kodak’ s history. 4. External Causes of Change The definitions of emergent and planned change suggest that change can come from different sources, and the implication is that emergent change might be more likely to be caused by external factors, while planned change is more the result of an assessment of the firm’ s internal circumstances (Lewis, 2011). Two of the common frameworks for assessing a firm’ s external environment and discovering the external triggers for change are Porter’ s Five Forces Analysis, which is somewhat general in nature, and the PEST analysis, which is preferred by some scholars because of its somewhat greater detail, and a better description of changing environments (Porter, 2006; Kozlinskis, 2008).
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