Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2019

Be Smart and Be Ready for Change

Companies need to be alert to change to survive, but recognising the need to adapt isn’t enough. Giovanni Laporta, head of the new Smart Ready concept talks to Windows Active about the importance of truly embracing innovation

A growing bank of research from the neurosciences and cognitive sciences sectors, reveal that change really is difficult for humans. We resist it because we’re creatures of habit and habits are powerful, easy and safe for us to follow. It’s not surprising because even on the most basic biological level, our brains hate change – when you’re learning something new, your prefrontal cortex is working particularly hard and since your brain uses 25% of your energy, it’s no wonder your head literally hurts when you’re learning! The same is true in business too because of course we don’t stop being human when we walk through the door at work. So in light of the science of change, how do you create a culture that can adapt to embrace new innovations, and how important is it anyway?

Be Alert to Change Before It’s Too Late – You only have to look at Kodak to see how important it is to not just nurture innovation, but to embrace the change that this brings too. Founded in the late 19th century, Kodak pioneered consumer photography and grew to become one of the world’s most widely recognised brands. In the 20th century, it had 90 percent of the film market and was the go-to company for amateur and professional photographers alike. At one point, the company had 140,000 employees and was ranked among the top five most valuable brands in the United States. Despite years of success, however, the 21st century brought changes and Kodak simply wasn’t ready. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Experts largely agree that a failure to innovate in the face of digital was the main reason for the brand’s decline. Although the company essentially invented the digital camera, it suppressed the technology out of fears it would threaten the profits it made from traditional film. Rather than look forward and adapt to new trends and technology, Kodak resisted change while ultimately led to its bankruptcy.

Innovate – And Then Keep Innovating – There are plenty of other companies that have failed to follow through on their innovations too – Nokia, Xerox, Motorola, Yahoo and Myspace to name but a few. Each proving they could come up with original ideas, but each, for different reasons, not following up on those original ideas. Maybe they were complacent, sitting back and relaxing on the back of their original innovation; maybe they were afraid and viewed the ensuing change as ‘lots of work’ rather than opportunity. Maybe they relied on their ‘brand name’ to do the work, when in reality ‘brand names’ mean very little if there’s no modern innovation behind the name. Either way, all these brand failures serve to show that there’s a need to be alert for change.

Early Adopters of The New Technology – The window and door sectors have undergone change plenty of times before – for example: tackling the ‘replacing the replacements’ challenge of how to get consumers to change adequately performing PVC-U products; undergoing the legislative change on energy efficiency which forced industry into developing the highest Window Energy Ratings – which it did and then chose to commoditise all the added value– but that’s an argument for another day. The fact is: when change is on the horizon, basic human behavioural psychology kicks in. There are a small number of early adopters that jump on board quickly and usually maintain their lead on the rest of the market. Then gradually time passes by and companies who adopted the ‘wait and see’ approach, realise what they’re missing out on and finally make the change, but it normally comes at ‘loss and cost’. Eventually the market reaches tipping point where the majority has adopted the new technology. It’s fitted as standard now. So why wait for loss and cost?

Be Smart. Be Ready to Change – It’s useful to see how the market has responded to new ideas in the past because it is about to experience arguably one of the biggest changes it has ever seen with the introduction of Smart Ready to windows and doors. If the industry looks ahead and has the staying power to follow through, this innovation will be a mass market. The Smart Ready® system is being launched at the FIT Show in May and is the epic turning point the industry has been looking for that satisfies all hardware suppliers, fabricators, installers and end users. The Smart Ready system will be available on all windows and doors and some early adopters in the big names are already making the change to Smart Ready. Smart is coming to everyone in 2019 so adopt today. To find out more, register for FIT at