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There are five companies which have been acknowledged to be at the heart of business innovations for the service industry. Uber may have transformed the ride-hailing industry but its sister concern Uber EATS is innovating at large in the food delivery space. City Co Pilot offers personalized services from concierge companies, helping people store luggage, accept packages, ensure transformation from airports or finding tickets to some city-level event. Noma is another restaurant but with a difference in that they source all their raw materials from organic sources. No form of artificially induced products are used at their stores. Motif Investing has curated unique solutions in the field of personal finance. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, while disparate have together provided a whole lot of services together. These include getting customers to share reviews, posing questions or eliciting feedback.


Like competitor innovation, similar transformation is also taking place in the public domain. Often the most innovative ideas may spring up not from any specific lab, but indeed the general public. Royal Dutch Shell was one company which invested heavily in public generated ideas right from the 1990s. Due to its more customer intensive nature of business, P&G involves the public in ideating products as it has done with inviting customer to create a “needs list”. This ensures that the company develops products genuinely relevant to the customers. At present a staggering over fifty percent of total product related business innovation originates from members of the general public, whom P&G terms as external partners. The target is to generate over three billion dollars’ worth of sales for the company using this “Connect and Develop” scheme. Three others who have leveraged the power of many are Unilever, Lego and BMW.


Competitor innovation is amongst the major areas where transformation has taken place within the sphere of work. Competitors often collaborate with one another simply to survive or rectify operational hassles. Professionals network with others from competitor firms at seminars or even on chance meetings. The famous example of Ford and GM may be cited, where both are fierce rivals yet came together to resolve a problem which led to faster market delivery. This freed up time as well as funds to focus on business innovations and developments. Another famous example is that of airline manufacturer rivals Lockheed and Boeing while another is that of Asian tech giants, Samsung and Sony. While conventional business practices dictate that feelings of hatred persist with rivals, this can be modified to bring mutual benefits to both or the industry as a whole. It all starts with a cordial conversation.



It is unfortunate that even for innovations that are genuinely life-saving, there aren’t many takers without adequate marketing being done. An example of this is NGOs and community based organizations that create solutions to get rid of diabetes a problem afflicting almost a third of adult Americans. In spite of their organic solutions that for insurance-takers gets almost free of cost, less than a single percent use them annually. That is why a lot of drug manufacturers have historically spent twice on its marketing as they have on their development. Thus three solutions have been identified that can help innovations scale up to match business needs. One of them is spread-ability which looks into creating solutions that may be easily replicated across frontiers. Such programmes must be better than other alternatives, easy to use and test, relevant to the intended beneficiaries, and such that it can be learnt through the art of observation. The second tactic would be to target likely participants as they are likely to become brand advocates to promote the offerings. Finally, a proper sales and marketing teams needs to be created to execute such plans. Non-profit organizations must be clear from the outset about the segment to be served and what best solutions may be offered to them. Free online resources exist such as Acumen’s sales planning courses and for marketing by Salesforce. Design form IDEO provides accurate business intelligence on what clients are looking at and what kind of solutions will be most relevant to them.


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