March 17th, 2014

Be bold, be disruptive!

Uber, Airbnb, Opentable, Square, Zipcar, Coursera, Skillsoft, JustEat, Seamless, Nest, Dwolla, Getaround, Spotify, Kickstarter and a myriad other “mobile” startups are disrupting industries faster than ever before. Many existing businesses find their revenues and core business seriously threatened by these companies. Remember the Yellow Pages? Travel agencies? Company training courses? Purchasing a newspaper? Calling for a taxi? Booking a room directly from the hotel? Buying a CD? Trading through a broker?

Businesses must rapidly catch up or risk facing the situation where their core business comes under threat. Thankfully, many companies are doing exactly this, proving that you don’t have to be a startup to disrupt and innovate. A couple of great examples include:

  • Starbucks’ Mobile Loyalty Card used by millions of customers today
  • Nordstrom’s “check out anywhere in the store” through mobile POS systems
  • eBay (no longer a startup) with Paypal Beacons for wireless orders and payments
  • Addison Lee booking apps with over 100m USD in revenue 2013
  • Hertz on Demand self service hourly rental program
  • Nike Mobile Apps and Fuelband proving that even a sport company can keep being innovative
  • Huffington post through business model innovation
  • Warburtons field sales tablet solution improving retail sales and customer relationships

All of these are great examples of how major corporations can rapidly innovate and be disruptive to stay ahead of, or at the very least, keep up with the competition.

What was the key to success?
1. Customer insights/research = understanding customer needs and wants
2. Solving a problem = Customer/user testing through every step of the development process with clear use cases
3. KISS = Keep it simple, stupid through great user experience and user interface
4. Quality = Never compromising on quality of the core service

Many of the concepts were tested with a minimum budget and a minimal viable product, but over time the services have evolved to differentiate and disrupt the business.

So what does this mean for you?

There is nothing new here. We’ve written numerous blogs and recommendations on innovation processes, user centric design and rapid ways of trialling, measuring and evolving new technology for your benefit. Our core advice however is Be Bold, Be Disruptive! Dare to do things differently. Try it out through a minimal viable product, measure and evolve!

Good luck!

For more reading about disruption don’t miss the great article on Big Bang Disruption in HBR. http://hbr.org/2013/03/big-bang-disruption/

Tags: mobile apps mobile marketing

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