How to Change the Game of Running

“If you want to keep in place”, the Red Queen says to Alice, “it takes all the running you can do. And if you want to get anywhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as this”. What Lewis Carroll tells us in his book Through the Looking-Glass seems to be of unquestionable importance for modern management practice. Companies that don’t innovate fast enough are missing the competitive edge; those that fail with first mover advantages are unlikely to gain high brand awareness, and yet others that work on introducing product innovations may not succeed because competitors copy them easily and vicious circles emerge. But why is it so difficult to move the safeguard of incremental adaptation or speed? Partly, because companies like doing what they are good at. This response might be a marginal illustration of temporal dominance over competition, i.e., the illusion that competition faced by the organization’s rivals, triggers them into a similar process of search and selection – they improve their products, and the company does as well. This reciprocal system of causality has come to be known as Red Queen Effect in evolutionary theory; it is a central, driving force behind the evolution of success and failure. But – it is a losing proposition because it amounts to doing more of the same, just at a quicker pace.

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