I’ve been making the point for years, which is that as barriers to entry collapse, advantages last for shorter and shorter periods of time. People like Roger Martin would argue otherwise (see our back and forth in the Harvard Business Review). And there is evidence that in certain industries (banking, education, healthcare, housing, cable broadcasting, telecoms) that there is less competition than ever due to consolidation and weak anti-trust enforcement. But by and large, my recommendation to senior leaders is to assume that transient advantage is the norm.
For some great case studies of how firms have learned to cope with this, check out Innosight’s new book on how companies engage in what they call dual transformation which is about keeping your core business fresh while inventing the businesses that will be part of your future business. Lots of useful tools and ideas there.