Gamechangers

Creating Innovative Strategies for Business and Brands

Across the world, new ideas, new businesses and new solutions are transforming every market. “Gamechangers” think and act differently. They innovate every aspect of their strategy and business model, brand and marketing, process and leadership.

From Alibaba to Zipcars, Ashmei to Zidisha, Azuri and Zynga, a new generation of businesses are rising out of the maelstrom of economic and technological change across our world. These are just a few of the companies shaking up our world.

Gamechangers are disruptive and innovative, start-ups and corporates, in every sector and region, reshaping our world. They are more ambitious, with stretching vision and enlightened purpose. They see markets as kaleidoscopes of infinite possibilities, assembling and defining them to their advantage. They find their own space, then shape it in their own vision. Most of all they have great ideas. They outthink their competition, thinking bigger and different. They don’t believe in being slightly cheaper or slightly better. That is a short-term game of diminishing returns.

10 Ways Change the GameThe book is based on deep insights to 100 of the world’s most disruptive innovators today. I started by asking 1000 business leaders to nominate the companies who they believe were “shaking things up” and creating the future in each different sector. The top 100 to emerge were a mix of big and small, spread across every sector and continent, from Asia to the Americas, finance to fashion. And then we wanted to understand what they did differently.

They range from well known innovators like Amazon and Apple – the magic Dash buttons creating a direct link between consumer and brands, the ecosystems that go beyond devices – to new brands like Brazil’s Beauty’in fusing the world of food and cosmetics, or even Zespri redefining the obscure Chinese gooseberry as the superfood Kiwi fruit.

They capture their higher purpose in more inspiring brands that resonate with their target audiences at the right time and place, enabled by data and technology, but more through empathetic design and rich human experiences. They fuse digital and physical, global and local, ideas and networks. Social media drives reach and richness, whilst new business models make the possible profitable. They collaborate with customers, and partner with other business, connecting ideas and utilising their capabilities. They look beyond the sale to enable customers to achieve more, they care about their impact on people and the world, whilst being commercially successful too.

As they say in the GoogleX moonshot factory, in seeking to reinvent everything from cars to healthcare, “Why be 10% better, when you could be 10 times better?”

How will you change the game?

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Book details

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Publication date: December 5, 2014
ISBN: 9781118956977

Reviews

Produced in wide format and attractively illustrated, Peter Fisk’s book is a richly researched work on this interesting subject, well thought out and highly engaging.

Game-changing businesses, the focus of this book, are disruptive and innovative start-ups and corporations that are reshaping economies in every sector in all corners of the globe. They are enterprises that find their own space and then shape it to their advantage.

The first section of the book looks at the mega trends influencing markets. The West-to-East shift is both intellectual and cultural as well as economic and is set to become north to south also as Africa rises, local to global (no borders) and global to local (no borders). Compare the fortunes of Air Asia with American Airlines and the growth of Tata with the decline of GM, author Peter Fisk notes.

Stock markets, he also notes, still group companies into classic boxes, with a different view of the financial risks with each. Sometimes companies can significantly boost their market valuations by declaring, like Time Warner did, that they are now in a different sector.

That involves more than superficiality, however. What matters is how you see your future.

Fast and agile favoured

The shift favours the fast and agile over the slow and stable. Success is not about volume and market share but about spotting profitable niches. Ideas are more important now than skills, as the latter can always be accessed.

Collaboration is vital as is diversity and engagement. Different is not enough, we need to be intimately relevant, in context or in demand.

Gender and generation shifts are occurring too. The role and influence of women in markets is increasing globally. They control $25 trillion of consumer spending.

US research quoted here suggests that they make around 85 per cent of all consumer decisions including 92 per cent of holidays, 80 per cent of home improvements, 60 of cars and 51 per cent of electronics.

The speed and impact or change is not only fast and relentless but it is also exponential. Networks have the most exponential impact of all, proliferating ideas and capabilities, power and potential.

What does it take to change the world? Passion, rebelliousness, a sense of optimism, and resilience are key, Fisk says.

On the latter point, the inventor James Dyson is cited as an inspiration. Dyson developed 5,127 prototypes before finding the right solution for a bagless vacuum cleaner, a feat of endurance he put down to his youthful stamina as a long-distance runner.

Innovators also typically have an ego which can be useful in terms of pushing themselves forward, Fisk says.

Thinking from the future back is a useful approach. This involves creating multiple scenarios of the future, based on the relative likelihood of certain events changing economies and societies in transformational ways.

Google, we learn, has a futurist in residence. His name is Ray Kurzweil and he believes in setting milestones to stimulate ideas but he also manages expectations. He has pencilled in 2017 for driverless cars, 2033 for solar energy and 2040 for “forever young”.

This is not an abstract exercise. The trick is to connect “future back” with “now forward” so that strategy and innovation are not made staring into a vacuum but with an informed view of the future we want to create.

Case studies

The third section of the book presents 100 case studies of enterprises nominated by 500 business leaders that demonstrate new practices. Much can be learned from these examples. Some win through deeper customer insights, others by building more engaging brand platforms, typically embracing social networks while also creating more personal and human experiences. Some underpin this with collaborative innovation, while others create models with new structures and leadership styles.

Fisk helpfully distils the approach of these enterprises and finds five key words to describe what these game-changers do: fuse, amplify, enable, mobilise and enrich.

The fourth and final part of the book provides a practical workbook for implementing game-changing strategies with key question posed and spaces provided for readers to answer a comprehensive series of questions.

Frank Dillon, The Irish Times

Gamechangers takes you into the mindset of those who shift the parameters and make vital changes in the markets. By taking a look at what makes them innovative and inspirational, you can make your own mark and become a Gamechanger yourself

Talk Business

“Thorough and smart, Gamechangers doesn′t just identify the trends shaping our business future, it offers us a roadmap for how to get there.”

Greg Williams, Editor, Wired Magazine

“Zigging when others zag is the only way to win in today′s rapidly changing world. There′s inspiration and learning aplenty in Gamechangers. This book will change your world and help you become a creative leader. Read and win!”

Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi