Archives for posts with tag: Chevy Volt


What has been the most revolutionary change in the automotive industry in the last decade? You might think Tesla, Chevy Volt or Honda’s FCX Clarity. I don’t think so. It’s been the introduction of  Zipcar. A completely new business model based on human insights and understanding where the world (and each customer) is going. BMW is latching on to that trend by developing a “DriveNow” sharing system in Munich.

While the iPhone was a major disruption, I would argue the App store is the real disruptor by introducing a new, innovative business model. Apple integrated the hardware with a crowdsourcing model for the apps in such a brilliant way, that it was something materially different from just being a phone, but from how phone manufacturers make their money.

The formula for survival: Innovate your business model

Whether threatened by classic disruption or not, companies have a tough time innovating their business models. In fact, they don’t change them significantly. Companies that do manage to adopt whole new business models do it by creating entirely new business units that have new business models. They don’t do it by taking an existing business unit and turning it on its head. So, I don’t expect Honda (and other automotive companies) to get out of the automobile business. But I expect them to start a new unit that focuses on a highly efficient car-sharing system. (And, in the decades to come, I expect all car companies to shift focus from the car-building business to the people-transporting business.)

By exploring new, disruptive business models entire companies will become more resilient to economic changes by better defining and focus the core business. Business model innovation is so important because it allows enterprises to experiment with something that might work out, then filter it back throughout the whole company. It helps brands to better understand where the world is going and what you as a brand need to do to address a specific customer demand, independent from your company’s existing systems and structure. It requires from a brand to understand and focus on where the customer is going, where the opportunity is, and then build the right business system to support that.

Advanced enterprises will be able to compare how different the new business model is from their current one (particularly in terms of margins, overhead, and success metrics), they can get a clear picture of what they will need to do to grasp the new opportunity. Would it be easy because it dovetails well with their current model, or would it require to marshal different resources and processes? Knowing that, if the world really is going that way, then they can be flexible and respond effectively because they’ve already experimented with and built a business model that will take advantage of that shift.

There are many industries ripe for business model innovation

Let’s start with the obvious one: Media. Newspapers need to redefine their business model, not just putting a silly “The Daily” on an iPad. That’s not a disruption, it’s applying the old business model to the new world of content sharing.

Healthcare – how can we take out real cost and create greater value? Healthcare reform didn’t pay any attention to changing the business model. We need to make better sense of all the health data available to us and increase efficiencies.

Defense – we try to fight WWII over and over again. Enemies have changed. Our response needs to change.

Energy – we need better systems that reward people to save energy, give them options in using energy (Should my house be powered by coal, gas or solar energy – with a different price for each energy form) and energy companies need to explore new revenue drivers to get out of the pure consumption model.

It used to be enough to innovate by increments. Product 2.0.

The time is ripe to innovate through bigger dreams. Business Model 3.0


This fabulous illustrations courtesy of Ogilvy (via Brad Hill)

I’m writing this a few hours after my return from Austin. As usual, SXSW was whirlwind of knowledge, brilliant minds, trial of new technologies and a lot of socializing.

It’s getting bigger and bigger

It was merely impossible to see 20% of the panels/keynotes I was interested in. The conference is now so spread out that you really have to limit yourself to 1-2 panels and go with the flow the rest of the day. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better but my experience was much better than last year. Maybe it was my overall attitude, my focus on networking or the conference felt more elevated and improved from last year.

With one exception, the keynotes weren’t good

Blake McCoskie, CEO and Founder of Tom’s Shoes, stole the keynote show by a huge margin. His story was inspiring and conveyed the passion he feels for his brand. I wish all keynotes would have been of that caliber but it gave me more time to network and learn by talking with fellow attendees.

SXSW’s content: It’s what you make it.

SXSW has turned into a huge farmer market. You have to walk down all the stands, try out some fruit, bite into a few sour apples until you discover something sweet. It’s up to you to do all the legwork in advance, have Plan B and C for each session in place and leave as soon as you feel the session doesn’t meet your expectations. I went to 10 or so sessions and 5 of them were fabulous.

It’s about the people

In a cab, in line, at the Allhat party, at the DraftFCB event, at a local restaurant, on the street: SXSW is about connecting with people. Replacing the Twitter avatar with a real person. Meeting strangers and parting as friends. Connecting friends with other friends. That’s the real story of SXSW.

Big brands are moving in

Samsung hosted the blogger lounge (Ironically more Apple than Samsung products inside the lounge) with interviews, book signings and a lot of Pepsi. Chevy really made an impact with their car service for attendees, test drives, charging stations, the Volt lounge and party sponsorship. Pepsi was basically everywhere, sometimes the only drink you could get was a Pepsi Max. They sponsored a lounge and a stage, sometimes manned by my friend @schneidermike. (He should just legally change his name already.) American Express partnered with Foursquare to launch a form of a loyalty program. Should be interesting to see the results. And, once again, Apple was the marketing king without spending any money on sponsorships: They opened a “pop up” store and geeks lined up for hours to get their hands on the new iPad2. Just to show them off in the next day and do the marketing work for Apple.

More importantly, more executives of large brands and enterprises were present, trying to figure out how to transform their business. I had more discussions about social business and less chat about bright, shiny tools.

Oh boy, so many apps and not enough screen real estate

Situationist, Hurricane Party, Beluga, Ditto, Yobongo, LiquidSpace. And I’m barely scratching the surface. It was fun to try them out and evaluate their worthiness to remain on my iPhone. Unlike other SXSW’s, this year there was no break-out technology. No Foursquare or Twitter. A lot of hype surrounding SMS group chat tools like Beluga and GroupMe but I didn’t experience a high adoption rate in my graph. It felt more like a new feature than an innovative  tool. The LocalMind Q&A tool looked interesting and could become quite helpful over time.

Would love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I’m busy deleting some of the apps I downloaded a few days ago.