Change your business … Innovating the organisation, from business model to customer experience.
Innovation is about making the best ideas happen profitably. It uses design thinking to look beyond products, to rethink business models and customer experiences, hard and soft, and then the products and services to deliver them. Every aspect of business can be innovated, open and collaborative, simple and frugal. Innovation is driven by a human cause, to make a positive and profitable difference to our world.
- From innovating products and services … to innovating the whole business
- From innovation driven by technical possibility … to innovation drive by human opportunity
- From innovation that is linear and disciplined process … to dynamic and creative fusions
Li and Fung – Global supply system for a connected world
Li & Fung is a global supply chain manager for brands and retailers. It was founded in 1906 in Guangzhou by Fung Pak-liu, an English teacher, and Li To-Ming, a local merchant whose family owned a porcelain shop. It started as an export trading company, exporting porcelain, fireworks, jade handicrafts and silk mainly to the USA. In 1937, Fung's son Fung Hon-chu opened the company's first branch office in Hong Kong, where it became based. In 1946 Li sold out to the Fung family.
Haier – China's global leader in white goods
Haier is a smart living home solution platform leading in the internet era. 100 million users in more than 100 countries, 24 overseas plants, 10 R&D centers, 60 distributors and 140 thousands retailers, the world's number one white good's manufacturer.
StoreDot – Full batteries in 30 seconds
StoreDot’s ‘FlashBattery’ system seeks to revolutionise how quickly people can charge their electronic devices. The system relies on an entirely new Lithium ion battery structure, which uses innovative compounds synthesised in its labs to dramatically reduce charging time.
Bytedance – Chinese AI-enabled news and entertainment platform
If you live outside of Asia, you’re about to get more familiar with the five-year-old internet news and video aggregator. Bytedance is already a household name in China, where its Toutiao information and content-recommendation service garners north of 120 million daily active users in the country. In early 2018 the Beijing-based company, with a valuation around $20 billion, started making bigger moves to crack into the world of mobile video, media and entertainment.
Supreme – The world's coolest streetwear brand
Supreme is a skateboarding shop turned clothing brand, created by James Jebbia as a small company in downtown Manhattan and quickly became a designers dreams. Thanks to collaborations with top brands as diverse as Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Kermit the Frog, Supreme is the brand people want to be wearing.
Even celebrities like Cara Delevingne and DJ Khaled are fans. Consumers will spend crazy sums to get their hands on limited edition collaborations like the Supreme Louis Vuitton Bag (which resells on eBay for $4,000 - $15,000), and always post a picture of it on Instagram (the brand has 6 million followers).
On Running – Swiss running on clouds
From a revolutionary idea a Swiss running shoe has evolved that is still amazing the sporting scene. The On provides a new running sensation, and one that puts fun firmly centre-stage. Born in Switzerland seven years ago, On has become the fastest growing global running brand with offices in Zurich (Switzerland), Portland (USA) and Yokohama (Japan).
% Arabica – Asian minimalism, African coffee roastery, and Arabic meeting place
"% Arabica is about my love for coffee, design, and seeing the world" says Ken Shoji, founder and CEO of % Arabica. Ken's story began in Tokyo, although I found him in Kuwait. "My father was the owner of a manufacturing and trading company, and together with his frequent business trips, they would take me overseas whenever possible – ultimately helping to inspire my love of multiculturalism, design, and architecture."
Heist Studios – Rethinking what we wear
Heist believes that underwear can be an instrument of progress. While many industries understand today's world’s desire for autonomy, choice and freedom, women’s underwear has lagged behind. Effectively, all women are living in underwear inadequate to their time.
Ossian Vides y Vinos – Organic fusions of wines from Segovia
"Ossian is history through the vineyards, it is passion in its grapes, it is life in its soil and it is an illusion in its elaboration process" says Pedro Ruiz Aragoneses
EcoAlf – Innovative upcycled fashion brand from Madrid
EcoAlf was created by Javier Goyeneche in 2012 to realise innovation in recycled clothing. The idea for a truly sustainable brand was born from a deep frustration with the excessive use of the world’s natural resources and the amount of waste produced by industrialised countries - specifically by the fashion industry. But Ecoalf is more than a conscious clothing brand; it is a mission to create the first generation of recycled products with the same attention to quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products in the market.
Paris Saint-Germain – A new brand to dream bigger
Paris Saint-Germain, one of Europe’s youngest soccer clubs and the only major team in Paris, has been transformed on and off the pitch in recent years.
Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) – The rise of China's drone technology
A drone crashed on the White House lawn in January 2015. A month later, a drone delivered a 9.15-carat diamond ring to Zhang Ziyi, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress, in a marriage proposal engineered by Wang Feng, a rock star in China. Two months after, a drone deposited small amounts of radioactive waste on the rooftop of the Japanese Prime Minister’s office, as a protest against using nuclear power in the country. All three drones were made by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI).
Organovo – 3D printing of body parts to order
Organavo is embracing the latest technologies to transform surgery, from the 3D bio-printing of muscle tissues to complete organs for transplant, saving lives and raising huge ethical issues too.
Graze – Snacking reinvented ... fast, healthy, delivered
Graze is a London-based snack company which offers over 200 snack combinations - including nuts, small puddings, and porridge - through snack subscription boxes, an online shop and retailers. It expanded operations to include the United States in 2013, launching snacks into US retailers in 2016. In 2012, The Carlyle Group bought a majority share holding in the business.
Hoya Yuniku – The world's first 3D-printed, personalised eyeware
Hoya is a global med-tech company and the leading supplier of innovative high-tech and medical products. Hoya is active in the fields of healthcare and information technology providing eyeglasses, medical endoscopes, intraocular lenses, optical lenses as well as key components for semiconductor devices, LCD panels and HDDs.
Darktrace – The world's leading machine learning company for cyber security
Darktrace is the world’s leading machine learning company for cyber security, having developed AI algorithms that mimic the human immune system to defend enterprise networks of all types and sizes. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal’ for all devices and users, updating its understanding as the environment changes.
Babylon Health – Everyone's personal health service
Babylon seeks to to democratise healthcare by putting an accessible and affordable health service into the hands of every person on earth. In order to achieve this babylon has brought together one of the largest teams of scientists, clinicians, mathematicians and engineers to focus on combining the ever growing computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalised health service and make it universally available.
MeUndies – Making undies your butt will be proud to wear
MeUndies is a lifestyle brand that is transforming the way people perceive and purchase their basics. As a vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer company we do it all: from design and manufacturing, to marketing and web design & development, to fulfillment and shipping, MeUndies delivers "The World's Most Comfortable Basics" with a relentless emphasis on quality and service.
Casper – Reinventing the way we sleep
The concept was simple: Produce the best mattress possible at an affordable price, sell a single model, and deliver it quickly, for free, with a 100-day trial period. It worked: Casper had sales of $1 million in its first month. The company has since raised $70 million in venture capital, grown to 120 employees, and hit $100 million in cumulative sales in its first 2 years.
Nespresso – The business model with an extra shot
You might credit George Clooney with much of Nespresso’s brand appeal. But the money is in the pods. Whilst the coffee machines are sold at minimal prices, it is the addiction – or subscription – to the refills that drives profits.
Supr Daily – Digitalised milk delivery in Mumbai
68% of milk in India is adulterated with water, detergent powder or worse products. Supr "direct to home connect" removes all middle men involved thereby ensuring that the milk your family drinks is not tampered. Milk, bread, eggs, curd, paneer, coconut water, dosa batter, buttermilk and many more daily needs. Many customers plan their entire week the the online schedule, easily setting all your daily needs on auto pilot.
Dalian Wanda – China's Walt Disney, the world's largest property group
Dalian Wanda Group was founded in 1988 and operates in four key areas: commercial properties, culture & tourism, e-commerce and department stores. In 2014, the company had assets of 534.1 billion yuan and revenues of 242.48 billion yuan. The company now operates 125 Wanda Plazas, 81 hotels (including 68 five-star hotels), 6,600 cinema screens and 99 department stores nationwide. Looking ahead, by 2020, Wanda aims to grow itself into a leading MNC with assets of 1 trillion yuan, annual revenues of 600 billion yuan and net income of 60 billion yuan.
Boom Supersonic – Supersonic is back with a boom
Supersonic flight has existed for over 50 years. Yet the Concorde of the 70s and 80s seems a distant memory, and everyone returned to jumbos and dreamliners. Until now. A breakthrough aerodynamic design, state-of-the-art engine technology, and advanced composite materials enable an ultra-fast airliner as efficient and affordable as business class in today's subsonic wide-body airliners.
Zuvaa – The global marketplace for African-inspired fashion
Zuvaa launched in 2014 as an online destination of African Inspired fashion and accessories.Kelechi Anyadiegwu started the fashion business to fill a void which she saw in the African Fashion Industry, a place for affordable, ethically made, African-inspired pieces.
Glossier – Beauty brand for the Instagram generation
"Women today have different needs than we have had in the past, but beauty companies haven't necessarily been the most reactive to that," says Emily Weiss who launched the skincare and cosmetics brand in 2014. "We wanted to create a very democratic movement, and the channels most fitting that goal were direct, digital ones."
City Football Group – Reinventing the football club, from Manchester to Yokohama
Frank Lampard was reluctant to leave his beloved Chelsea for any other English team. Like many star players in their final years, he chose America, joined New York City FC as they launched into the MLS. He started off well, too well actually, because soon the club's owners wanted him to play elsewhere, for their English club, Manchester City. Lampard had little choice, realising that he'd signed up to a network of clubs, rather than one. It symbolised the future of football.
Ezetap – The Square of India ... cashless payments in fast growth markets.
"Over the next decade, India will move from a cash-based, opaque economy ... to an economy that is digital, instantaneous, and where every citizen is not just on the grid but the quality of their families’ future will be materially better" says Bobby Bose, cofounder of Ezepay.
Jaunt – Immerse yourself in cinematic virtual reality
The idea for Jaunt originated in early 2013 when one of the founders returned from an amazing experience at Zion National Park. What if he could go back there for a brief jaunt, at any time, from any place? The emerging consumer VR industry provides the mechanism to travel to virtual worlds. Jaunt aims to put realism back into the virtual reality experience, lending an uncanny sense of presence never before possible with any other technology.
Riot Games – League of Legends is reinventing the world of gaming, and the world of sport.
In a world where real sports are challenged by online gaming, attention spans fall from a 2 hour movie to a 10 second snapchat, lying in your bedroom but still seeking the thrill of the partisan crowd ... Riot Games is the answer to your millennial prayers. Each game demands 30 to 60 minutes of players' undivided attention. The average player spends 30 hours a month on the game ... that's three billion player-hours each month
77 Diamonds – Diamonds are the real thing, even for online retailers.
Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller, set up by two twenty-something friends, one a banker, the other the son of a diamond miner. Today they run a $25m business, across 77 countries, delivering finely crafted diamond jewellery direct to consumers through a luxury service that offers great value.
Corning – Exploring the possibilities of a life made of glass
We live in a world of glass – from tablets to televisions, high rise buildings to Google Glass. But glass breaks. Not if its made for gorillas. Corning has turned itself into an ingredient brand that even adds value to Apple.
nuTonomy – The world's first self-driving taxis
nuTonomy is a leading developer of state-of-the-art software for self-driving vehicles, developed by two MIT researchers, and first launched in Singapore in 2016.
1Atelier – Personalisation becomes the new luxury
1Atelier is reinventing bespoke luxury accessories for the 21st century, helping consumers to create exquisitely handcrafted handbags, and more.
Surf Air – The "Netflix of the skies" takes off in Europe
There’s a smarter, better way to fly in Europe. Since 2013 Surf Air has delivered all-you-can-fly subscription air travel between key cities in California, and now its taking off in Europe, with the same revolutionary unlimited travel business model.
Under Armour – Outperforming Nike at the Rio Olympics
It started with a simple plan to make a superior T-shirt. A shirt that provided compression and wicked perspiration off your skin rather than absorb it. A shirt that worked with your body to regulate temperature and enhance performance.
Dollar Shave Club – "Our Blades Are F***ing Great"
Dollar Shave Club delivers amazing razors and grooming products for ... a dollar a month. The provocative start-up cuts through an industry built on emotion-driven profit margins to showcase a new world of targeted relevance, disruptive innovation, direct selling, subscription pricing and viral communication.
Brunello Cucinelli – Cashmere from the village of Solomeo
“During my lifetime I have always nurtured a dream: useful work to achieve an important goal. I have always felt that business profit alone was not enough to fulfil my dream and a higher purpose was to be found”.
Vinaya – The millennial entrepreneur who thinks human first, tech second
Kate Unsworth's favourite words are banana and martini. She is a maths grad and part-time model, who has embraced a millennial mindset for business, and also a love of technologies that are thoughtful, human and fashionable.
Diesel – The brand for successful living
Renzo Rosso sees his work as an art and not a science, the company has redefined how a brand sees and communicates with its customers since 1978.
Apple – Designed in California, loved around the world
Apple’s story is retold a thousand times. But in a world of relentless innovation and imitation, the brand needs to reassert itself, as more than its products, and more than Steve Jobs.
Intuitive Surgical – Heart surgery by robot, and the surgeon with the joystick
Intuitive Surgical harnesses robotic technologies to enhance human capability. Better surgery, faster and more precise, is the main benefit, whilst also reducing the time and cost of operations.
Rakuten Ichiba – Asian shopping ... crabs and kimonos with “omotenashi”
As markets become more fragmented into specialist niches, the economics of local stores gives way to online platforms. With careful focus, small businesses can become global and profitable, without the costs of becoming big.
Le Pain Quotidien – Rustic breads, communal tables ... being human in a digital world
Le Pain stands out in a cookie-cutter world of standard formats as authentic and sustainable, human and communal. Whilst the world becomes anglicised, it’s great to see a little French on our streets, albeit Belgian.
Inditex – Fast fashion from La Coruña to Bershka, Mango and Zara
Inditex group has built on the global success of Zara and its fast fashion, to develop a range of retail brands that carefully target adjacent market segments with distinctive and relevant fashions. As markets and trends evolve the portfolio gives the group strength and agility.
Etsy – The world's largest maker market, bringing the world's most creative people together
Etsy has created given local artisans, and local markets a global reach, bringing together like-minded buyers and sellers as a passionate movement. The business model makes it fair and accessible to the smallest trader.
Triangl – Melbourne to Millennials, all thanks to Instagram
Vibrant, color-saturated bikinis are popping up on beaches everywhere this summer. The perpetrator: a budding swimsuit company with Australian roots called Triangl.
Lumio – Jakarta to Kickstarter, Techshop to MoMA
The Lumio lamp is beautiful, stylish, innovative ... practically, it is an LED lighting fixture that folds out of a portable wood hard-bound book and can be placed or hung anywhere.
Xiaomi – China’s Apple-like phones with Jobs-like leader
Xiaomi saw its smartphone sales sink in 2016 due in part to its ramped-up competition with Huawei and BBK. But the company has seen remarkable international growth
It sold 2 million devices in India in fall 2016—and hopes its sleek new Mi Mix and Mi Note 2 smartphones will reignite sales in China. Xiaomi is also working to upend the narrow perception of its brand: The company’s wide-ranging hardware offerings include everything from headphones and fitness bands to tablets and power strips and water purifiers. In 2016 alone, it introduced its first laptop, a set-top box, a robot vacuum, a smart rice cooker, a $29 VR headset, a quadcopter drone, and its MiJia electric scooter, among a slew of other ventures.
Xiaomi aims to become an internet of things powerhouse through its investments, so far, in 77 companies, which can tap into Xiaomi’s resources, supply chain, and growing retail presence online and off (Xiaomi opened three-dozen brick-and-mortar stores this year, with hundreds more in the pipeline) to scale up faster. The company believe this portfolio approach—which doesn’t involve hiring engineers to build all these products—will create an ecosystem of devices and services with recurring revenue streams.
Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. – A gallon of gravity, a can of X-Ray vision
Charities and non-profits can be some of the most innovative businesses. Yet too often they forget to engage and inspire their audiences, with all predictable fundraising campaigns. Not here!
Snap – Share life with friends, fast and fun
Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend (or maybe a few). They'll view it, laugh, and then the snap disappears from the screen - unless your friend takes a screenshot!
Farfetch – 400 designer boutiques in one place, anywhere, anytime.
Farfetch is a revolutionary way to buy fashion, bringing together hundreds of the world's best independent designer boutiques.
Robinhood – Removing all the barriers to stock trading
Robinhood is the worlds most innovative financial services company ... with a mission to democratise access to the financial markets, with a simple smartphone app.
CVS Health – The One Stop Health Shop
CVS Health describes itself as a pharmacy innovation company with a simple and clear purpose: helping people on their path to better health.
Aussie Farmers Direct – Fast and fresh, field to fork
Aussies love the outdoors, fresh and natural. So the farmers jumped on the milk floats and brought together the best of local, authentic produce from across the nation, ready to deliver direct to the door. The business model is lean and networked, taps current trends and builds community.
Tesla – Faster than a Ferrari, powered by the sun
Tesla is the fastest, sexiest, most-hyped car of its generation. It can drive 1000 km on a solar powered battery, with zero carbon emissions, whilst also becoming the must-have luxury accessory in Hollywood.
Syngenta – Biochemists of the world’s future food
As populations rise, and farmland diminishes, Syngenta is applying science to every aspect of food production, finding better ways to feed the changing world and also improve health.
Raspberry Pi – Build your own computer gadgets for $25
Eben Upton wants to inspire kids about the potential of computing. With an incredibly simple $25 computer, a cool brand a social movement, he is inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Samsung – South Korea puts the tae kuk into the Galaxy
Samsung has always focused on innovation, however it was only by embracing the power of design, that they were able to engage people in objects of desire, rather than products quickly imitated.
ARM – Designing the architecture of the digital world
ARM designs the chips inside most of the world’s smartphones, and increasingly other devices, creating an ecosystem of research and innovation with its partners, and most of the world’s device brands as licensee customers.
Mayrig – Cooking up a passion for Armenian culture
Whilst most of Armenia is long gone, the culture lives on through traditional recipes and incredible food that brings people together to share incredible food, and explore the stories that sustained a nation, and now still inspires a global tribe.
Zespri – Redefining the Chinese gooseberry as the Kiwi fruit
Kiwi fruit are a great example of market creation. Zespri, owned by New Zealand growers, shows how to build premium brands that increase the market size, whilst also capturing disproportionate value, and what might otherwise be a commodity market.
Juan Valdez Café – From commodity to premium branded experience
Most coffee growers make a few cents or every bag sold to consumers, even less for every cup drunk. Colombia’s farmers decided to create their own branded experience.
Aeromobil – The incredible flying cars from Bratislava
The flying car has long captured the imagination of the futurist. For Stefan Klein it was his life's passion. When he retired from designing cars, the inventor set his mind to adding wings.
Zipcar – Why own a car when you can hire a cooler one?
Collaborative consumption drives the better use of assets, and often a better deal for customers. Better products at a fraction of the price. The subscription model builds community and loyalty.
Virgin Galactic – Astronauts all, but the goal is long-haul
The space race is on, to provide regular affordable flights for business, research and tourism. And whilst the development has not been without problems, Virgin’s vision, determination and spacecraft design, promises to go where others haven't, or at least from London to Sydney in one hour.
Airbnb – Now you can belong anywhere
Airbnb is a great example of collaborative consumption, making more of under-utilised assets, whilst also enjoying the social experience of sharing. All built around a sustaining community.
Toms – A pair for kids with every pair you buy
Toms is a brand with purpose, and a dual business model – inspired by the simple canvas shoes of Argentina – it gives away a free pair away to street kids for every pair it sells. “One to One” has become a worldwide movement, and now stretches beyond shoes.
Threadless – The crowdsourced t-shirt community
Threadless was one of the first crowdsourced brands, recognising the power and passion of user-generated designs. Voting and limited availability keeps people coming back to the site, from which a vibrant community has developed, engaging people physically and online.
Ashmei – Sportswear without compromise
Focusing on designing the very best apparel for serious runners and triathletes, Ashmei refuses to compromise. Combining the best fabric and production from around the globe, focusing on niche audiences who are prepared to pay more for their passion, outplays the mainstream brands.
Spotify – The freemium business model for music
Spotify grew out of deviant behaviour – imitating the actions of illegal downloaders to find a legal business model which combines free access with the ability to also make money as a business, and for artists and publishers. The brand is contagious, driven by consumer collaboration, and staying topical.
Netflix – Changing what and when we watch
Netflix grew out of consumer frustration with the stupid rules of an old model. This provoked one guy into creating a better solution, which has continued to evolve in format and business model as new technologies emerge, and competitors catch up. The next horizon of data-driven content creation is perhaps most intriguing.
Coursera – The best education available to everyone
Coursera, and other MOOCs, are on the verge of fundamentally disrupting education, knowledge and expertise, across the world. By moving the best university courses online, with a business model that allows universal access, they can be transformational on society, and the opportunities for everyone.
Renova – The sexiest toilet paper in the world
Renova is on mission to brighten up your life. Why is toilet paper white? The Portugeuse brand a hit in Hollywood bathrooms with its black paper. Colour is a bold, but simple way to change the game.
Nike – Business designed at the speed of the swoosh
Nike is a design and branding business, with a focus on digital technologies and “amplifying nature.” It is about function and fashion, but most of all about athletes and achievement.
Method – Superheroes who make cool products and happy homes
Method is the cleaning products that believe in being doing good whilst also iconic features and beautiful fragrances for your home. With attitude and ambition, they declared war on dirt.
Narayana Health – Low-cost hospitals with a heart
Narayana operates a dual business model, one funding the other. Whilst knowledge and equipment are not compromised, the growth in medical tourism subsidises low-cost heart surgery for the poor.
Epocrates – The doctor’s brain in the palm of his hand
Instant access to technical and patient knowledge transforms the speed at which doctors can offer diagnosis and treatment. This results in improved decisions, delivering faster treatments, at lower costs.
23andMe – The $99 DNA profile could change your life
23andMe can transform our attitudes to health, diet and mortality … but also entire industries, drugs driven by future needs, healthcare refocused on prevention, insurance premiums to reflecting new risks.
Zidisha – Peer to peer microfinance in developing markets
Zidisha is a non-profit organisation that matches African entrepreneurs with peer to peer loans from around the world, keeping interest rates low by cutting out intermediaries and using simple technology.
Square – Making payments easy, anywhere anytime
Square’s insight came from the millions of small businesses who lose sales because they cannot accept credit cards. Empowering first the retailer, and the consumer, Square had to fight to change the rules of the market.
Moven – Bank 3.0 that promises to be different
Moven is a digital financial manager designed around the mobile consumer, making banking and life easier, and through a range of easy and fun analytics, embracing games and social media, and even makes you a rockstar!
Positive Luxury – The butterfly mark of brands you can trust
Curation is a key role for retailer, editing and guiding in a world of infinite choice. Making sustainability positive, being better rather than less bad, being authentic and natural, softer or brighter.
Amazon – A mission to become the world's most customer-centric business
Amazon, from Dash to drones, Alexa and Echo, uses technology to disrupt and redefine a range of adjacent industry, and then do it again, whilst adding new business models that create a convenient and personalised customer experience.