When Ambidextrousness Fails:
Kodak is frequently cited as an organization that was unable to achieve this ambidextrous state. Although they invented the digital camera, it disrupted their traditional film business. This conflict resulted in them hesitating to move aggressively into the market space that proved so dominant it killed their main profit center, ultimately driving the parent company into bankruptcy.
The Apple “Pirates”:
Apple on the other hand was able to maintain their august Apple 2 product line while creating a band of “pirates” who constructed a revolutionary new computer, the Macintosh. Steve Jobs told his team of Mac mavens that “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.” Given that “navy” = incremental and “pirate” = radical, I would claim it’s best for organizations to have a navy and a band of pirates. Apple would do it again decades later with a creation of a new “pirate” band (the iPhone team), one of whom we will have with us in Sun Valley, Andy Grignon.