Creative destruction means opportunity, December 16, 2007,
When I was a kid,
my father worked in New York City and we lived in Connecticut. I remember my grandparents
coming to visit us from their home in New Orleans each summer for two weeks. They made their cross-country trip each year by
trainwhich even in the 1970s seemed like an outdated method of transportation.
While still common
in many parts of the world, the popularity of long-distance train travel in our country
has become negligible compared to what is was a century ago. The rise of the automobile and highway systems,
and the birth and development of airline transportation relegated the train-travel
industry to an almost forgotten mode of transportationjust as trains did to horse
and stagecoach travel in earlier times.
The forces that
propelled interest in automobile and airline travel over railroad travel caused many
railroad-related jobs to become irrelevant and unnecessary.
Many jobs and industries ceased to exist when the new, superior, and
preferred types of transportation came into being. The
lost railroad-related jobs were replaced in the economy by countless jobs in the
automobile, highway, and airlines industries. New
technologies, jobs, and industries supplanted old technologies, jobs, and industries.
process is not limited to the transportation industries.
The medical field is continually announcing new procedures, treatments, and
ways to prevent and remedy diseases and afflictions.
Scientists and researchers are constantly discovering new things that
improve the ways we live and workin agriculture, engineering, and through pure and
applied research in chemistry, biology, and physics. Advances in electronics and computer
technology have given us countless new products that radically replaced old products and
equipmentfrom more powerful personal computers to bigger televisions to smaller cell
phones. Each radical product advancement
brings with it new technologies and new jobs. Old
technologies, jobs, and products are lost in the economy.
Economists refer to
the process of new and better products, ideas, and innovations replacing old ones as
creative destruction. New
innovations bring with them new sets of required skills, knowledge, and abilities of
workers. The jobs related to the old
products become irrelevant and new jobs become in demand.
Our capitalistic economy is one that encourages and rewards the invention
and creation of new and better things. Entrepreneurs
and innovative companies constantly look to find and develop the next big
thing for the market and to make themselves and their companies wealthy in the
process. Because new and better
is the norm of the market, the required skills, knowledge, and abilities of workers in the
marketplace are also constantly changing.
and innovations mean new opportunities for innovative companies and workers. Companies and workers who possess knowledge of
outdated technologies and the skills needed to produce unwanted offerings will find
themselves irrelevant in the marketplace. Individuals
and organizations must constantly keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date with the
market to make themselves relevant in the futurethrough continuous training,
development, and education, and strong senses of curiosity and personal discovery.