Surviving change Vs. being the change

A short refection on this article
http://www.economist.com/node/21542796 ... warming up for my Strategies for Innovation & Growth Class, this saturday.

After reading the article, one "extreme" and probably naive reflection came to my mind:  surviving in a changing environment is all about forgetting "who you are" and simply ensuring that cash comes through the door. Let me explain what I mean.

I might have anchored too much in the example of how Fuji used its capabilities in chemicals for films, to move into the cosmetics space (but I'll still use it). From the technology point of view, the application of the antioxidant "technology" used in films to a skin care products makes a lot of sense. However (besides the technology we just talked about) - what do a  film making firm and a cosmetics firm have in common? 

Fuji's reaction to the imminent change is indeed impressive, however I see its merit around "staying live", rather than around re-shaping its industry or space. They simply created another business, being smart enough to leverage in an "inheritance" (call it cash, technology, or even a market). And by the way, this new business is not necessarily innovative, from a buyer perspective (despite the detailed features described) to me Astalift looks very similar to what Este Lauder, Clinique or any of those cosmetic companies offer). I am not trying to undermine the brilliance of Fuji. The stories I am trying to contrast is the one of "Fuji moving into new spaces because its space is dead" Vs. "Fuji/Kodak adding smart phone capabilities to their cameras". The first story is about substitution of revenue streams, the second is about real evolution or transformation of your industry.

Any thoughts?

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