The well-known term “disruptive innovation” was coined in the 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who passed away in January. The book has become a must-read for management students.
A mature enterprise requires a core customer base to support a large portion of its income and revenue. To maintain business performance and boost sales, its value-added products and services are often based on the needs of major customers.
However, existing customers might oppose any breakthrough changes. Under such circumstances, even if a company’s CEO handles every matter reasonably and correctly, they could still misjudge the situation in the face of new waves of development, and the company could lose its market and fade away.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) main customers, such as National Civil Servant Association honorary chairman Harry Lee (李來希), exemplify the party’s dilemma today.
Han led the KMT’s traditional supporters to a victory in the local elections in 2018, becoming the pan-blue camp’s new rising star. However, he often sings out of tune, and even makes remarks that encourage confrontation and agitate emotions in exchange for cheap political points.
In the past few months, the media has reported that China allegedly attempted to attract the KMT’s major Han supporters during the presidential election, and the report caused not only criticism from Han fans, but also cruel remarks from Lee and former Taiwan Provincial Government secretary for foreign affairs Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英).
They are pushing the party away from its majority customers in Taiwan’s market.
As the KMT seeks to transform itself, it last month appointed Oscar Chien (簡勤佑), a cofounder of online discussion forum Dcard, as its new “chief digital marketing technology officer.”
However, a Facebook page, titled kao bei su kun (靠北蘇睏), that Chien created to allow people to complain anonymously about the government’s COVID-19 relief program has caused controversy by posting a photograph that discriminates against women. As a result, he is pushing young people even further away.
When KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) demanded that Lee apologize during a livestream on Facebook, the page was flooded with comments from pan-blue camp supporters — such as those saying that Chiang’s political maneuvers have seriously hurt party unity, the KMT always offends its friends and delights its enemies, and the party is best at attacking its own people.
From such comments, it appears that the party wants to transform itself without actually offering anything new or entering a discourse on core values, and the transformation reveals itself to be superficial. Not only can it not open a new market, but it can also incite protests from its major customers.
If a company’s outdated product is rated “one star” by users, then the CEO should quickly remove it from shelves. Otherwise, it might become a bomb that blows up its image down the road, while a company that is hijacked by its die-hard customers fails to innovate.
The KMT should support the recall vote against Han scheduled for June 6.
A recall is not a confrontation. Rather, it is an important political right endowed by the Constitution to the public, as it returns power to the people through a direct vote.
In this way, the KMT can eradicate the old to establish the new.
Liao Tai-hsiang is a former spokesman of President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election campaign office.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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