surviving in publishing

In light of earlier discussions about the plight of newspapers, this article from The Atlantic on how The Economist is thriving is quite interesting. The article contrasts the recent fates of Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report, who are all struggling (or gone, in the case of USN&WR), with that of The Economist, which actually increased its advertising by 25% in 2008. Here’s a quote:

All of this suggests that although digital media is clearly supplanting everything analog, digital will not necessarily destroy analog. A better word might be displace. And The Economist’s success holds a number of lessons for dead-tree revanchists on how to manage this displacement.

The easy lesson might be that quality wins out.

I think that the last sentence is the key one. One of the most important things to do when faced with disruptive innovations is to continue to make sure that you are unique. This is harder than it sounds. Many successful firms assume that because they are successful, that they provide a unique value to people. This is not always the case. I’ll follow this idea up in more detail tomorrow, when I’m less jet-lagged. However, for now, just give some thought to the question: what makes my firm special? How can we use this to combat whatever disruptions currently face us?

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.