Innovate or Die
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October 2019

Innovate or Die

By Pedro Folque, Senior Partner, Sao Paulo

Innovate (reinvent yourself) or die: a suggestive title, but in no way original from so many times that it has been used in various lectures, events or even to reinforce an idea of change. However, although so often used and revisited, it seems that even today we do not understand its scope and timeliness. If we look back and see what the world has changed over the last decade, we come to the immediate conclusion that “business as usual is no longer enough.”

Could a century-old company like Thomas Cook, as well as other major tour operators and travel agencies, imagine that platforms like Booking, Decolar, eDreams, Trivago, 123 Milhas, among others, would put their businesses in check or even checkmate? Or how Airbnb puts great difficulties to the big hotel chains industry as we speak?

Take a look on how Linkedin has questioned the traditional search and selection industry even though nobody will disagree that it is the biggest data base of non-validated and non-confirmedinformation in the world?

Google and Wikipedia ended the Yellow Pages and the major encyclopedias like Britannica respectively;Whatsapp is threatening fixed and mobile telecommunications operators and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are threatening the great news agencies and media to the point that, in so many cases, they´ve become their main sources of information.

And what aboutthe difficulties YouTube, Netflix, Primevideo and other streaming services are causing not only to television operators but to cinema itself?The cloud has made pen drives and other storage devices useless. Spotify and other platforms like Apple Music, Deezer, Google Music, have revolutionized the music industry. Apps like Uber, Cabify or 99 threatens taxi drivers and other traditional transportation services.

Tesla and its innovations have put the auto industry on notice only because its ideas, and the way it has connected those ideas to an ambitious vision for a future of renewable energy and self-driving vehicles, are as compelling as they are simple.

And, is it not true that thatWaze and Google Maps didthe same with GPS system to the point of no longer being consideredan indispensable and expensive accessory we need in our cars?

Smartphones have changed our perception of immediate access to information. Today we access information just a click away anytime, anywhere. There are no more reasons or excuses for ignorance despite the care we must have with false news and the misinformation purposely generated. After all, the internet has democratized everyone’s opinion.

Anyway, you will certainly have so many other examples, like how the email has deeply impacted post offices around the world, to how online financial institutions are threatening the traditional banking system. But the main question remains: how long do you think your job will last in its current form and how much longer will you insist to continue living like you did 10 years ago? I suggest that you reinvent yourself and innovate on a daily basis in order to move on and be prepared for all the challenges that are yet to come. What do you think?

Pedro Folque is a Senior Partner with Kingsley Gate Partners specializing in the industrial and infrastructure segments. With over 20 years of experience in executive search, Pedro has completed assignments for Chairmen, Directors, CEOs, and other senior general management roles for leading global multinationals, as well as for premier regional and domestic companies in different geographies and economic activities.

Pedro Folque
Senior Partner

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