>How? I think you have to look to companies that have been able to make profitable businesses out of new technologies or products that were distinctly different than their initial success.
That's a great concept to keep in mind. I've been a big gear head for most of my life, and only later on did I learn that a company like Mitsubishi or Volvo had additional heavy machinery lines, not just automobiles (I'm using the premise they were 'successful' and economics / leadership decisions / market forces notwithstanding). My thought is that you're touching greatly that a company's culture may have critical importance to being able to do such things.
It very much rings true to me after having a lot of low-level retail & some Fortune XXX gigs, and one of the ways I was able to understand it better was to write up a TV pilot / show idea about an R&D department in a toy company during the go-go 1980s. Exploring a culture of development, albeit with significant stakes & external competition, was actually really pleasant because I could (can still?) see Pros & Cons that, um, well define an overall culture. Pardon if I'm convoluted explaining it but I just really enjoyed exploring the concept as a wannabe inventor.