The Canadian smartphone manufacturer Blackberry RIM is currently on the rocks. This is in stark contrast to five years ago, when Blackberry dominated the business smartphone market, and the iPhone was, to the corporate world, merely the new kid on the block. What then can we learn from the decline of Blackberry RIM?

Blackberry RIM

1) If you are first to market it’s always harder to stay on top

With its natty, easy-to-grasp, keyboard Blackberry was the first to penetrate the corporate marketplace with a smartphone that became addictive for millions. However, being first to a marketplace presents peculiar challenges, as Netscape also discovered to its cost. There’s immediately an onus on the successful business to be on the defensive, thus developing a damaging siege mentality: To be avoided like the plague.

2) Focus on what people do more than “markets”.

Don’t just be happy with charts from the marketing wonks; go out and be amongst users of your products. Find out their daily needs and wants. People’s needs and habits change. You need to be on hand observing those changes, and reflecting on the real-world implications for your product line.

3) Being brave enough to fail makes you less likely to fail

Finally, there needs to be something almost madcap about your passion for innovation. Occasionally you may release a real turkey, but by being ever-flexible, and super-innovative, you are far more likely to keep in step with the times; and more likely to prevent your company from sinking in to obsolescence.