Innovate or Die

“The entrepreneur upsets and disorganizes . . . his task is ‘creative disruption.’”

–Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookseller, announced this month that it was putting itself up for sale—the victim of declining profits, which have resulted in large part from the rising popularity of electronic books.  Depending on what ultimately happens with Barnes & Noble’s own e-book reader, the Nook, the company is sure to find itself on one side or the other of Peter Drucker’s dictum: “innovate or die.”

Booksellers are hardly the first to be challenged by the “creative destruction” brought about by digital technology. The music and newspaper industries have faced similar tests—and largely failed. Survival often depends on how entrepreneurially these established players can respond. “Entrepreneurs see change as the norm and as healthy,” Drucker wrote. “Usually, they do not bring about the change themselves. But . . . the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

In this edition of Drucker Apps, we invite you to join our conversation about creative destruction. Weighing in will be K.H. Moon, the former chief executive of Korean consumer products company Yuhan-Kimberly; Cecily Drucker, principal of Start-Up Strategies, a consulting firm, and the daughter of Peter Drucker; and others with insights into this topic.

We open things up with this question: Is your organization poised to be a creative destroyer, or is it more likely to be destroyed—and why?