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
Magazine Luiza – Brazilian retail
Magazine Luiza, or Magalu, is one of the largest Brazilian retailers. The company was founded in 1957 in Franca by Brazilian billionaire Luiza Trajano and family.
In 1992, it launched its first “virtual” stores, which at the time were physical retail outlets equipped with multimedia ordering kiosks. There are 162 stores in Brazil today with such kiosks still in use. In 2000, Frederico Trajano, a third-generation Luiza and the company’s current CEO, joined the company to direct the launch of its ecommerce division with “a simple philosophy to do an omnichannel strategy,” involving ecommerce orders that could be shipped directly to consumers or picked up at physical outlets.
Currently the company has more than 1001 stores and 9 distribution centres, selling 10 thousand items in their stores, and at the end of 2018, its online marketplace hosted more than 3,300 vendors offering a combined total of 4.3 million products. The company reported annual sales of $220 million from its online marketplace for 2018.
Zipline – Drone delivery of vital medical supplies
Zipline's mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. In order to achieve this, the organisation has built the world's fastest and most reliable delivery drone, the world's largest autonomous logistics network.
Canva – Amazingly simple graphic design
Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It is available on web and mobile, and integrates millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations. Users can choose from many professional designed templates, and edit the designs and upload their own photos through a drag and drop interface. The platform is free to use, and paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise offer additional functionality. Users can also pay for physical products to be printed and shipped. As of 2019, Canva last raised at a $3.2 billion valuation and has over 20 million users across 190 countries.
Huit Denim Co. – Do one thing well
"We make jeans. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal our focus. No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything. No trying to conquer the whole world. We just do our best to conquer our bit of it. So each day we come in and make the best jeans we know how. Use the best quality denims. Cut them with an expert eye. And then let our ‘Grand Masters’ behind the sewing machines do the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from making something well, of such superior quality that you know it is going to stand the test of time. It makes the hard work and the obsessing over each and every detail worth all the effort. That’s our reward. That’s why we stick to just making jeans."
Sprout World – The Plantable Pencil Company
Sprout World is a Danish company that develops sustainable and plantable writing tools. The company was established in 2012 by Danish entrepreneurs Michael Stausholm and Jonathan Løw. The Brøndby-based company's main product is the Sprout Pencil, which was originally invented by three students from MIT in Boston USA. It recently also launched the SproutSpoon. Sprout products are now available in more than 60 different countries.
Fujifilm – From photography to cosmetics and healthcare
Fujifilm's mantra is "never stop transforming", and as a result has created innovative solutions in a wide variety of fields, leveraged its imaging and information technology to become a global presence known for innovation in healthcare, graphic systems, optical devices, highly functional materials and other high-tech areas.
Impossible Foods – Can a burger save the planet?
Impossible Foods develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. Founded in 2011, and headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company's stated aim is to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without supposed negative health and certain environmental impacts associated with livestock products. The company researches animal products at the molecular level, then selects specific proteins and nutrients from plants to recreate the experience and nutrition of specific meat products.
Ecovative – Growing packaging from mushrooms
Ecovative uses biology to solve fundamental human needs at industrial scales and in consumer applications. Ecovative uses mycelium to grow category defining products ranging from leather like textiles to sustainable packaging to high performance foams for apparel and beauty. Ecovative has been widely recognized for its technical and environmental contributions by organizations like the World Economic Forum and in the media including Wired Magazine, Forbes, and Time.
LanzaTech – Recycling Carbon for a Cleaner Tomorrow
LanzaTech is turning our global carbon crisis into a feedstock opportunity with the potential to displace 30% of crude oil use today and reduce global CO2 emissions by 10%. LanzaTech’s carbon recycling technology is like retrofitting a brewery onto an emission source like a steel mill, but instead of using sugars and yeast to make beer, pollution is converted by bacteria to fuels and chemicals! Imagine a day when your plane is powered by recycled GHG emissions, when your yoga pants started life as pollution from a steel mill.
ISKO – The ingredient brand inside the best jeans
ISKO, a brand of Turkey's Sanko Group, is the world’s largest producer of denim fabric, with 250 million meters of fabric a year. It says it "creates the soul of jeans, the essence of the most popular fashion style that has become universal." It is a great example of building an ingredient brand, in a way that the premium ingredient enhances the core brand.
Welspun – Sustainable textiles from India
Welspun Group is one of India’s fastest growing global conglomerates with businesses in line pipes, home textiles, infrastructure, steel, advanced textiles and flooring solutions. In particular it is seen as a leader in home textiles with a presence in over 50 countries and 26,000 employees.
Bolt Threads – Synthetic spider silk for a better world
Bolt Threads is a materials innovation company. Taking nature as our inspiration, we use cutting-edge technology and biology to develop new textiles and materials that raise the bar for sustainability.
Rimac Automobili – The Croatian innovator of electric hypercars
Founded in 2009 with headquarters in Croatia, Rimac started as a garage project and grew into a globally recognized technology leader, built upon the passion and vision of the company's Founder and CEO Mate Rimac.
Haufe – Democracy in the workplace
Haufe Group "takes companies into the digital age, to create the workplace of the future." The Haufe Group is considered one of the most innovative media and software vendors in Germany. More than one million customers – including all DAX 30 firms – generate over 300 million euros in revenue. The Freiburg-based firm currently has more than 1,950 employees within Germany and beyond.
Ping An – The world's largest insurance company
Ping An Insurance Company provides products and services through its five ecosystems in financial services, healthcare, auto services, real estate services and Smart City solutions. The Group's insurance business writes property, casualty, and life insurance products. It is the largest in the world.
McLaren Automotive – From F1 to luxury, high-performance supercars
McLaren is globally renowned as one of the world’s most illustrious high-technology brands, encompassing McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies.
Since its foundation in 1963, McLaren has been pioneering and innovating in the competitive world of Formula 1, forging a formidable reputation which has seen the racing team win 20 World Championships and over 180 races.
Mikkeller – The world's largest craft beer company
Mikkeller is a microbrewery founded by Mikkel Bjergso in 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark that was originally based on the so-called "cuckoo", "phantom" or "gypsy" ethos; that is, the company did not operate an official brewery and, instead, collaborated with other brewers to produce their recipes or experimental one-off brews
New Story – 3D printed homes for $4000 in 24 hours
An estimated 3 billion people will be living without access to adequate shelter by 2050 — a 200% increase over three decades. New Story pioneers solutions to address global homelessness and imagine a world where no human lives in survival mode.
LVMH – "Art de vivre" blending heritage and innovation
The mission of the LVMH Group is to represent the most refined qualities of Western "Art de Vivre" around the world. Since its creation in 1987, LVMH has comprised a unique portfolio of over 70 prestigious brands.
Lilium – The world’s first electric vertical take-off and landing jet.
Lilium is a disruptive aviation start-up based in Munich, founded in 2015. It is currently delivering on its vision of a completely new type of individual transportation and is dedicated to develop and build the world’s first fully electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jet. An estimated range of up to 300 km and a top speed of 300 km/h, along with zero emissions make it the most efficient and eco-friendly individual means of transportation of our time. By providing ultra-redundancy, the Lilium Jet will also set new standards in safety. It aims at liberating towns and cities from today’s congestion and pollution, with people able to come and go freely, vastly expanding the radius of their everyday lives.
Kikkoman – Make haste slowly
Kikko, which means tortoise shell in Japanese, and man, meaning 10,000, were chosen first as the trademark and later as the company name. This was to symbolize longevity, as according to Japanese folklore a tortoise lives for 10,000 years. This symbolism is found in Kikkoman's logo, which is a rebus that consists of the Chinese character for 10,000 (萬 wàn) surrounded by a hexagon, representing a tortoise shell.
Allbirds – The world's most comfortable shoes
Allbirds is on a mission to prove that comfort, good design and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer brand designs environmentally friendly footwear, and is a certified B Corporation. Co-founder Tim Brown got his idea while he was vice captain of the New Zealand football team. He had previously attended business school and used to make leather shoes for friends but was aware of how uncomfortable they were. In 2014, he received a research grant from the New Zealand wool industry to engineer a sneaker, and then launched his idea on Kickstarter, raising $119,000 in five days. After launching on Kickstarter, Brown teamed up with Joey Zwillinger, a biotech engineer and renewable materials expert. The co-founders began developing their process and officially launched Allbirds in March 2016. Within 30 months, the company was valued at $1.4 billion.
Zozo – Japan's custom-fit clothes
Say goodbye to standard sizes and hello to custom-fit clothes. The free ZOZOSUIT lets you capture a 3D measurement of your unique body from home. Once you’ve measured, you can order affordable ZOZO clothing that is made according to your unique measurements and delivered directly to your door.
Macquarie Bank – The Australian bank that seeks opportunities that others miss
Macquarie is a diversified financial group providing clients with asset management and finance, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities. The diversity of our operations, combined with a strong capital position and robust risk management framework, has contributed to our 49-year record of unbroken profitability.
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.
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.