There are many ways to create innovation – product, process and business model are the three main types. Product innovation like new Samsung phone models can help bring in revenues. Process innovation like BPI computerized branches, which require customers to encode data of their deposit and withdrawal while waiting, can help bring down cost via efficiency. Then many times when products and processes have been innovated, the business model will be reviewed, especially since the advantage of a product innovation typically won’t last long unless there is barrier to entry like a patent.
There is another type of innovation to address an avoidance of parity — that of the marketing mix innovation, especially if it supplements a product innovation. The advantage of a having simultaneous product and marketing innovation is that once a product edge ceases, differentiation will still be present in other areas.
Here are some examples: Read more
As we celebrated Women’s month last March, I like to share two interesting innovation stories which benefited women.
1. Finding baby sitters and caregivers online
Genevieve Thiers, then a college student at Boston had a eureka moment while helping a pregnant mom post a babysitter help notice in various bulletin boards of the hilly campus. While she didn’t invent babysitting nor the internet, she was inspired by online dating service and combined the online plus babysitting and launched Sittercity.com, the first online babysitter company, which has grown to become an online caregiver company, expanding beyond babysitters to include nanny, housekeepers, senior care providers, tutors, pet sitters, and dog walkers. The site currently has over one million registered caregivers in the United States.
Imagine the year was 2001, this was way before Uber and AirBnB hit the market, when she envisioned the convenience of helping parents ensure safety of their children while giving peace of mind to parents. Sittercity.com created user-friendly processes to review caregiver profiles by zip codes, read parent reviews, narrow search on those with first-aid and CPR certification, run background checks, conduct phone interviews (including what to ask), check sitter references, run in-depth background checks and meet applicants.
Their background check service includes an identity verification, a national criminal search, traffic violations, and more importantly, a check through the sex offender and violent crime registry, cutting weeks and months of work for parents, allowing them the freedom to do other things while someone is helping them watch over their loved ones. Read more
Waters Philippines is market leader in home water purifiers in the Philippines. Launched in 1995 as the first consumer durable network marketing company in the Philippines, it struggled in the initial years with the need to educate sellers on the difference between network marketing (also known as MLM or multi-level marketing) versus illegal pyramiding, as well as the culture difference between a network marketing distributor (retailing plus leading a team of their own recruits) versus a sales agent (retailing only). Waters was a pioneer in MLM and was launched ahead of Amway and Herbalife in the Philippines. With more international MLM companies entering the Philippine market, it became easier to convince people of the new system as more people got educated.
Earlier, Waters Bio Mineral Pot, the product name of the 3-in-1 alkaline-mineral-purified water system sold by Waters Philippines, was promoted only in appliance retail stores. This was a low hanging fruit as appliance retail giant Abenson owned half of the company then. But the price of Waters was much higher, in fact, ten times more than the imitation mineral pots as well as faucet-mounted water treatment systems available in hardware stores and other appliance dealers, hence, the need to educate why it is better to drink higher quality water. The shift in channel and business model enabled Waters to conquer a lot more territories instead of being limited to where retail stores are located; it allowed sellers to be entrepreneurs reaching out to qualified prospects instead of waiting for customers to enter the stores. With the entrepreneurial spirit, individual distributors can own company-sponsored car and have the chance to travel domestic or international annually. The life of distributors is also much longer than the typical five-month hiring duration of promo girls in the store as it became unfortunate many needed to be replaced just when their competencies have started to rise. Waters Philippines also launched installment programs in order to make it more attractive for buyers of water refill stations not just to shift their drinking water budget since it costs much less per liter to own a Waters but to also empower consumers to stop drinking acidic water promoted by most water refill stations, despite shelling out a lifetime cost of half a million pesos for drinking water based on P150 average weekly expenditures.
The business model innovation allowed Waters Philippines to expand quicker Read more