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“Gradually, they lost their focus”
Richard Eisermann, Strategic Director, Prospect, UK
Issue Date - 30/04/2012
At one point of time, Sony was one of the best when it came to technology, innovation and design. But now, it is not even a refection of what it was. What went wrong is a more of a cultural issue rather than resource based one. The Japanese culture is so strongly ingrained in the company. In today’s world, it becomes difficult to be that kind of singular culturally. No doubt, it is important to be singular in your focus, but you also need to have a broad-based culture. As to what Sony needs to do, they need to open up. Design wise, the company was always at the forefront. During the 1980s, it was all about Sony. In fact, it was the only thing that anybody ever wanted. But gradually, they lost their focus. The biggest mistake successful companies make is to assume that they can continue to achieve based on their past accomplishments. They’ve been successful and they want to repeat that success. And they feel that repeating that success means doing the same things, which made them great in the first place. Success is about exploring new opportunities, taking up newer inspirations and in a way starting again. Sony needs to understand the connection between the product and the service. When you start thinking about implementing design throughout the system, you get a whole ecology of products, services, interactions and behaviors that all work together to create an experience. Take Apple for instance. Its culture is built on the foundations of vision and focus. An this is where a lot of companies have problems. They fail to be narrowly focussed. Apple has a handful of products that they have to manage. That’s relatively easy compared to managing 10’s of product variants across categories. Mind you, Apple in the 1990’s was deep in trouble. Later, it was a focalisation of efforts that really made a difference there. If you look at what went through with HP’s tablet – disaster. Within six months, they spent a billion dollars and were out of the market. It was a me-too product and they didn’t look at what could make their product unique. Sony needs to increase its focus on certain blockbuster products and then it can eventually hope to bounce back into action.


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