Innovation is in all the wrong places

Excerpt from this article:

From car rental desks that look shocked when it’s busy to hotels that can’t tell you when your room will be ready and ask for credit card details three times, physical retailers need to adapt to a world in which online shopping has made people impatient, expecting to find things immediately — and to be served even faster.

For all companies, innovation needs to be deeper. Not token gestures on the edge, but fundamental rewiring of business from the core. Imagine a business as an onion of concentric layers. On the outermost surface would be communications — how companies express themselves. Inside this would be marketing — the services, promotions, pricing and products made by the business. At the core, upon which everything else is built, are the business values, culture, processes and systems.

…The real examples of innovation come from companies built for the modern age. They’ve taken new behaviors, new technology, new workflows and, above all else, new consumer expectations. Here we see the obvious examples like Uber or Airbnb, but also companies like Facebook, which has become a media owner of vast scale that does not actually make any content.

…Let’s stop thinking of technology as a trendy tattoo — a surface-level commitment best kept on a conspicuous but not often used part of the body.

Let’s think of it as oxygen — essential to the beating heart of your business.


TED Talk: You Don’t Need an App For That

After sharing a link to my stories about creative uses of technology in developing and emerging markets, a colleague sent through a link to this great TED talk: “While the rest of the world is updating statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs, says journalist Toby Shapshak. In this eye-opening talk, Shapshak explores the frontiers of mobile invention in Africa as he asks us to reconsider our preconceived notions of innovation.”

Thanks Chris T. for the link!