Genuine Innovation Examples

Genuine Innovation Examples

We analyzed innovative companies and focused on identifying the “Disruptive Moment.” We asked ourselves if it would be possible to achieve similar results through improvements (incremental innovation). We picked Genuine Innovation Examples across different industries, such as Furniture, transportation services, Automotive, satellite communication, financial services, hospitality, and innovation management. To put it in context, here is how we define innovation for the work we do in general:

Innovation is a breakthrough that elevates people and organizations
in the way they do things
that were not possible before

* IKEA  –  Furniture
Changed the way new furniture is made available.
Unlike the public opinion in the startup phase of IKEA, it is not the \contemporary look or the fact that everybody can assemble it; therefore, it’s cheaper. It offers a collection of “improvements,” including furniture production, distribution, offering, design, shop layout, and delivery model.
The Disruptive Moment: Customers can walk in and buy the furniture for an entirely new apartment in one day and has it the same day. That is still impossible with any other furniture company.
The sheer magnitude of the IKEA business model could not be achieved by improving a conventional furniture company or trying it step by step with incremental innovation. Many have tried but have yet to get there.

* Uber  –  Taxi
Change the level of trust and reliability of taxies.
Uber has been and still is fought in cities around the world. Most see the lower price and the freedom of everybody can do it as one of the critical threats. Consumers like it because it is easy to call an Uber almost anywhere in the world, with no language issues or payment issues. They see the car coming in the app, and if it cannot come for whatever reason, they see it too. Uber drivers are generally more friendly, and the whole experience is considered better. The innovation is a collection of features and concepts.
The Disruptive Moment – still today: Customers never have to worry whether the ride gets more expensive, the driver tries to heat, only takes cache, or similar payment issues. The rider knows the price upfront, which is deducted at the end of the ride, no matter what. That is still impossible with any other taxi organization.
The perfectly aligned customer experience of getting, paying, and valuing a ride could not be realized with an improvement of existing Taxi organizations.

* Tesla  –  Electric Vehicles
Change the way cars get refueled/charged
Tesla is known to be the thought leader in environmentally friendly cars, pushing for better batteries and creating the charging infrastructure. The company is also leading the digital empowerment of automobiles. Again, the innovation of the Tesla car combines multitude of advantages, features, and infrastructure advances. In particular, on the infrastructure side, charging stations can be installed virtually anywhere. No petrol, gas, or hydrogen needs to be delivered by trucks or other means – only wires need to be laid or solar cells, etc., set up.
The Disruptive Moment: Customers can charge their car at home, in parking garages, in the office, in supermarkets, and downtown in almost any city. And that is still impossible for combustion engines, whether it is petrol, gas, or hydrogen.
The complexity of EV travel could never be achieved with an improvement of the current automotive technology or “incremental innovation” of existing cars.

* StarLink  –  Satellite Internet
Changes in the way high-speed internet communication is provided
Starlink is already covering large areas that would not have Internet for a long time. Even in areas where it is promised to have fiber or at least regular slow Internet, the internet availability is often very unstable and spotty. The $50/month price for a 1/4 gigabit connection is very reasonable. The satellite dish adjusts automatically and works in the rain, cloudy, or bright ad hot sunshine.
The Disruptive Moment: Customers have an uninterrupted and stable Internet connection because their speed is not reduced when Friday night, all the neighbors stream their TV channels and bring the local concentrator to heat up. And that is still not possible, even if they have a 2 GB Fiberoptics connection.
The entire architecture of satellite internet would be impossible to realize with an improvement of terrestrial systems or “incremental innovation.”

* N26 Bank  –  Digital Banking
Change the way banking is conducted, available, and used.
Germany-based N26 digital bank is still developing. They created an entirely digital banking organization. Their currently 1,500 employees oppose roughly 70 employees of Credit Suisse for more or less the same functionalities yet with a far more efficient service and all-new customer experience. The N26 banking system is a native digital system, while conventional banks try to maintain their employee count and permanently jeopardize digital functionality.
The Disruptive Moment: the N26 business model is its fully automated transaction systems that will be able not to be less expensive but to perform even more responsive services for a fraction of the cost. Customers can perform any banking activity 24×7 in real-time, which is just not available at even the most advanced banks.
The level of sophistication in the fintech world in general and digital banking could never be achieved with an improvement or “incremental innovation.”

* Airbnb  –  Vacation Rental
Changed how travelers can find, book, and pay for attractive vacation rentals.
While the vacation rental market is more than 70 years old, it has never been organized in a way that is easy and trustful for the traveler. That has changed with Airbnb. People could book a room in somebody’s apartment, an entire apartment, a house, or a luxurious villa. Payment could be made via credit card in advance, but into an escrow account, so it was safe for travelers and renters. Contracts and terms had been established that were fair for both parties, And a deposit in case of any damage.  Also, here is a multi-facet innovation, taking care of all the little details.
The Disruptive Moment: Trust. Traveler and Renter provide their social media profiles so people can explore who they do business with. That level of trust is not available on other platforms. Often overseen, yet the primary decision for many to prefer Airbnb.
The comprehensive platform could never be realized by improving existing platforms with “incremental innovation.”

* BlueCallom  –  Innovation management
Change the way innovation is driven to success
BlueCallom has focused on empowering teams to deliver breakthrough innovation in less than six months. The company provides an end-to-end process that starts before ideas are explored and finishes only after the innovation is successful in its designated market. A rich KPI framework allows executives to monitor the process and predict the success probability. A unique strategy model helps an entire enterprise to manage its innovation undertaking. Also here, an entire network of unique functions are connected.
The Disruptive Moment: The confluence of neuroscience and computer science (AI). The neuro ideation methods leverage human creativity to its fullest potential. That is not possible with any other solution or technique.
The innovation development speed could never be achieved with improvements or “incremental innovation” of existing solutions (we tried and failed).

You could do the above genuine innovation examples and look at your competitors, any successful unicorn or your own company to see if there is a clear match to genuine innovation.

What 90%+ of innovative solutions have in common

  1. The above companies [innovative companies in general] identified a serious problem and solved it by building a brand new solution tailored to solve the respective problem in the best and most comprehensive way.
  2. Their solution consists of a multitude of unique and innovative functionalities and did not have to make any compromise by keeping existing designs or features.
  3. They did not need to pay attention to any existing capabilities or the lack thereof  in sales and marketing teams and structures.
  4. They could build the most effective production line and select the most effective delivery and service model, providing the best possible customer experience.
  5. It took a year or two to be in the market, It took 3 years to be recognized as a game changer, 5 years to go global and 10 years to become the respective global market leader including all other solutions in that market. Most of them continued to be the undisputed dominant market leader, including SAP, Microsoft, Apple, Blackrock, Oracle…


The above Genuine Innovation Examples show how their so-called ‘Disruptive Moment’ make it an innovation that would not be possible to achieve if existing solutions were improved or developed further with an “Incremental Innovation.”  All those Genuine Innovation Examples also may help illustrate that incremental innovation is simply nonsense and a pseudo-innovation excuse.

To hear more about this topic, ask questions or enter the discussion,
Join us on Nov 9, to our innovation thought leader webinar Genuine and Pseudo Innovation. 

In any case, I would love to hear your opinion about the characteristics of innovative solutions or companies.

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