Aviation Week publishes Grundman Viewpoint on Innovation in Aerospace and Defense
Writing in Aviation Week’s Viewpoint column, Steve Grundman considers the significance for innovation in aerospace and defense of a series entitled “How Japan Lost Its Electronics Crown” that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal. Grundman believes the stories offer a cautionary tale about innovation for the aerospace and defense industries of North America and Europe. As illustrated in the Journal’s reporting, the one-time giants of consumer electronics–Sony, Panasonic, Sharp–missed a subtle but powerful shift in how consumers value electronics, from performance–what a product does–to what Grundman calls customization–what the user can do with his or her device. So too, he argues, are aerospace and defense companies experiencing an inflection in their customers’ preferences that is subordinating traditional hardware competencies and elevating what Grundman calls software competencies. On this new playing field, where customization counts more than product performance, large companies will have to reform their higher-faster-farther impulses, and small companies adept at better-quicker-cheaper can enjoy innovation-advantage over bigger, broadly-scoped incumbents.
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