The tyranny of success: How to be a LEGO in a world of Blockbusters




That’s right. I’m taking us back to the classic tale of Blockbuster. You remember it, right? The media giant that got too complacent and ignored the Internet trends of the 1990s and 2000s.


As old as this story is, there’s still an incredibly relevant lesson to learn: Blockbuster failed because it fell victim to the “tyranny of success.” 


You don’t want to end up like Blockbuster. No matter how you leverage future opportunities, believe me, you want to be more like a LEGO.



But it’s a lot easier said than done.


Where Blockbuster fell short, LEGO excels


Blockbuster was blinded by its own success. They couldn’t imagine a time when a substitute product or changing market conditions might come along and dramatically alter the playing field.


Instead of paying attention to new market entrants like Netflix and Redbox, they were preoccupied with expanding into the videogame rental market.



LEGO too faced a sea of market changes. But, instead of ignoring them, they seized the opportunities hidden within the new trends and reimagined their business model.


They diversified, pivoted back to their core purpose and evolved from a product into an innovation company. 


They bridged young and old audiences with new toys and family-friendly movies and shows.


And, most notably, they used co-creation to innovate collaboratively with audiences. The LEGO Ideas platform has engaged more than a million fans who have generated more than 23,000 ideas. 


(Read more about LEGO’s co-creation genius here.)


Break free from the tyranny of success


To be a dominant player — and stay there — your organization needs to pay attention to the trends that are changing the way we live, work, and play.



Systems and processes are critical to scalable growth. But we often become too satisfied with our organizational routines. 


We get preoccupied with fine-tuning and incremental improvements and forget about preparing for the next wave of the future. And that’s happening faster and faster.


We must plan how we will take advantage of the seismic changes happening right before us and prepare to invest in a new future. That often requires taking bold risks. 


Being innovative ain’t cheap. You’re going to need to invest precious profits back into your business instead of being solely focused on short-term financial gains. (I know, it’s especially difficult if you’re VC or PE backed and being held to EBITDA milestones.)



To break free from the tyranny of success, every leader in the company needs to be invested in the risk-taking that is innovation. Innovation isn’t just creating a new product, service, experience, or business model.


Innovation is a culture.

It’s a mindset.

It’s a process.

It’s the way a team works together.

It’s finding new ways to do things that bring advantage to everyone involved.

It’s about creating more value than is recognized, appreciated, and desired.

It’s about finding ways to solve problems that people know about and DON’T know about. 

It’s about filling opportunities that are not yet filled.


So how can you, as a business leader, grow through innovation right now? It all starts with examining the trends that are reshaping the future.


Let’s look at some of the population, technology, wealth, aging, labor, currency, and sharing economy trends that are shaping the future of healthcare.


14 major shifts you can’t ignore if you want to roll with the LEGOs



I recently interviewed the Dean of Cambridge Judge Business School and bestselling author Mauro Guillen on my video podcast, The Health Innovators Show.


We talked about his book, 2030: How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything. It was a rather eye-opening book and I was super thrilled he agreed to be my guest.



(Check out the episode here if you haven’t yet!)


Here are some of the most impactful facts, figures, and trends that we should all watch out for, regardless of our industry, sector, and business size.


By the year 2030…

1. The over-sixty group will make up 90 million people, or 26% of the population.
2. An estimated half of burgeoning entrepreneurs will be in the 55-64 group — up from 15% in 1997 and 24% in 2016.
3. The over-sixty group will reach $15 trillion per year in spending power.
4. The average 70-year old will live like today’s 50-year-old, with the help of breakthroughs in fields like biotechnology, medicine, and nutrition.



5. Women will own 55% of the world’s wealth.
6. Nearly half of our spending will be in the form of “collaborative” or “shared” consumption, including homes, cars, offices, gadgets, and other personal items.
7. VR will play a huge role in industries like healthcare, where it can be used for mental health assessment and treatment, surgeries, and managing various injuries and chronic conditions like brain lesions and autism.
8. VR tech will likely help reduce several types of psychological disorders by orders of magnitude.
9. The manufacturing sector will employ more programmers and controllers than day laborers to manage the robot technology that replaces up to 6 workers on average.
10. We can expect to see robots in roles like assisting in providing care to the gray population and aiding (or even replacing) skilled professionals like surgeons.


11. The sharing economy, originated by companies like Uber and Airbnb, will continue to drastically upend socioeconomic roles and responsibilities.
12. The gig economy will grow as it continues to grant more independence and freedom to those who participate in it.
13. The Internet of Things will consist of 200 billion devices and sensors connected to them, giving extremely detailed data into individuals.
14. Tapping into the Internet of Things, the insurance industry will likely provide more personalized insurance rates based on individual behaviors instead of broadly categorizing “at-risk” groups.


Are you prepared for what comes next?


Did any of these figures give you an “oh sh!t” moment? Feel personal? Give you a flash of inspiration? 



Or perhaps you suffer from the tyranny of success and you just thought to yourself, “Interesting, but these won’t impact my business. Or, if they do it will be years from now…”


This is just the kind of status quo thinking that might mean you’re buying your company’s plot next to Blockbuster’s grave.


The world is drastically changing before our eyes. Playing it safe has its own unique hazards. 


Will you be prepared for what comes next?

Is your organizational culture adept at exploring new innovations?

Can your company organize and move fast?

Is your leadership team risk-averse?


It is truly an exciting time to be a business leader. One where you can reimagine how you will leave your mark on the world. 


The organizations who heed these trends will keep WINNING!


If you haven’t read Mauro’s book yet, do yourself and your employees a favor. Buy a copy. I guarantee your heart will be stirred and you’ll start to rethink your future.