In times like these, where there is a massive upheaval it’s very easy to get stuck in what’s been lost, or taken away. It’s understandable. For so many of us, including myself, the business rug was pulled out from under us almost overnight.
However, where there is disruption and uncertainty there is also incredible opportunity to innovate. An opportunity to think differently about how you serve your customers, an opportunity to shift your business model. Or perhaps an opportunity to connect with new customers and markets.
I’d like to share with you some examples of incredible innovation, happening right now. As you read through these I want you to think about how you can learn from their pivot. As you read, ask yourself, “how do I apply this to my world?”
Snooze Breakfast Eatery: As we all know, restaurants have been hit particularly hard with the stay-at-home orders. They’ve been forced to shut down, lay off workers, and lose thousands of dollars in food that now has to be tossed in the garbage. Many won’t re-open when the orders are lifted. Some restaurants are doing their best to stay open by offering delivery - basically an extension of what they already provide, but in take-out. They are seeing minimal success with this.
The founders of Snooze, on the other hand, thought differently. They recognized that their restaurants are in the heart of family neighborhoods. And, their customers, aka parents, are dealing with a new challenge that needs solving - daily meals for kids that are now home 24/7. Parents are juggling work, homeschooling and home tasks, including more meal prep than ever before. Kids eat a lot! Because of this, Snooze isn’t just doing take-out, they are selling breakfast and lunch family-size meal kits.
Like Snooze discovered, big shifts create new unmet needs. Is there a new customer need that’s been created due to this shift in how we work and live that you can solve? Can you be the one to solve it in a meaningful way?
Micro-Brews and Perfumaries: Let’s face it, micro-brews are currently shut down and perfumaries are mostly irrelevant right now. We can’t go to micro-brews to get something on tap and who needs perfume when you are wearing pajamas all day. This could be the end of both industries, except for those that see the opportunities. Multiple breweries across the country and perfume manufacturers recognized that they had the key ingredient to an essential product in high demand right now. Can you guess what it is? Hand sanitizer. Both micro-brews and perfume manufacturers recognized that with some key adjustments they could shift production from their traditional products to hand sanitizer.
Sometimes the best innovation happens by simply thinking differently about what’s right in front of you. The businesses above simply adjusted what they already had to find brilliant innovation and relevancy.
What assets, resources, or tools do you have that could be adjusted to find new meaning and relevancy?
SGN (Some Good News) with John Krasinski: I hope you’ll take a moment and Google this poorly produced show. It’s full of good news, something most of us need right now. How is this innovation? In a time when the media is hyper-focused on doom and gloom, the conversations are about what’s going wrong and the general mood of the world is low, someone dared to do the opposite. They found that gap that wasn’t being filled in the industry. Sometimes, as SGN shows us, the best innovation is found in the gaps where others aren’t serving their marketplace. This gap has always existed and was exacerbated by the COVID-19 situation. As an added benefit, being the pioneer that fills the gap, it’s much easier to stand out in a cluttered marketplace. Instead of being gradations of everyone else, you own a unique place in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Like SNG, what gaps exist in your marketplace that need filling? Where can you stand out from the competition with a unique and valuable approach?
A few other quick examples that might spark some innovation in your world:
Art museums, while shutting their doors to visitors, launch “recreate famous paintings with what you have in your home” contests to keep people engaged in art. People have been using everything from spoons to blankets to lawn mowers to recreate their favorite paintings. The results are extremely creative.
A printing company recognizes it has expertise in printing labels for home remedy and spa products because of their work in vitamins. They dial up sales and now have clients in a new industry currently in demand.
A DJ on Instagram, DJNice, does live dance parties that tens of thousands of people across the globe attend. All attending from their home.
A Crossfit gym in Denver can’t do their fitness classes so they rent out equipment to members so they can work out at home.
Walmart ups it’s inventory of tops, not bottoms, because of the massive rise in need for “top up” outfits for conference calls. In fact I got an email just the other day from another clothing brand with a sale on “conference call” attire instead of their usual spring suits.
In many of the workshops we do, the main challenge we are solving with our clients is how to shift with what they have right in front of them - the realities, the challenges, the resources (or lack of), the shifts, the opportunities.
It’s exciting to see the transformation and innovation that comes out of our workshops and times like these for our clients and the businesses we follow. Even for those in industries facing massive adversity right now, there is tremendous room to adapt, pivot, innovate and come out stronger on the other side. I hope you’ll take a moment and find the innovation in your world.
Tamara Ghandour was a featured speaker at the Health Action Council 2020 IN-VALUE-ABLE Conference & Expo in Cleveland Ohio.
The impact of Tamara’s break-through work on human-centric innovation can be seen in individuals, teams, and organizations across the globe. She is the author of the newly released book, Innovation is Everybody’s Business - how to ignite, scale and sustain innovation for a competitive edge. As the creator of the proprietary Innovation Quotient Edge (IQE) assessment and the president of LaunchStreet Consultancy, Tamara has helped tens of thousands gain the competitive edge by unlocking the power of innovation through digital training, online tools and the first of its kind, IQE assessment. With 25 plus years of work experience, Tamara knows what it takes to truly drive innovation, relevancy, and value in an ever-changing, complex world.