We’ve often spoken about getting back to basics, when it comes to refocussing your business – and for many, that starts with an honest look at critical business systems and processes that may be holding you back, and stopping your team from being productive, engaged members of your business.

Innovation is risk – we get that. You take a shot at something new, hoping it will work. Sometimes it does, and sometimes you learn a lesson that sets you on a path for even greater success, and sometimes you simply fall short of the mark that gives you the perfect opportunity to get yourself back on track. So, what better way to inspire innovation than to look at those businesses who have done it, or not done it in some cases.

Bond, the UK Network for organisations working in international development, describes a Business Model as a “A business model is the way in which an organisation, on the one hand, creates and delivers value for others and, on the other hand, sustainably finances it“.  Uniting to support over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice, Bond has seen organisations reinvent themselves often in the strive to add value to those in poverty, but to also constantly re-evaluate the bottom line against how that business delivers value.

So, we take a look at just a few organisations and business models that may just inspire the next operational innovation idea within your own business.


Eve-tech: Crowd-based and crowd-supported

Eve-Tech is a Finnish business that approaches the design and selling of a personal computer in a new way through the use of ecosystems. The business has built it’s success on developing an active community that is focussed around their product. A large group of active fans that get involved in the core of business protocol, from funding to product testing, feedback and new development roadmap ideas, the business is as close to it’s consumer, as it comes. They have built their entire basis on their customer, meaning that because they have an actively engaged audience who feel part of the product, they already have a loyal customer-base, they have a loyal recommendation scheme, they have honest and trustworthy feedback processes because the customer feels part of their success. Because of this unique advantage, smaller production volumes mean that Eve-Tech is able to afford slightly higher production costs through avoiding excessive outside testing costs, marketing activity, retail channel management and even some development costs.


Hilti: From Purchase to Access

We’re no stranger to AirBnB, Uber and Deliveroo – where we pay to gain access. Access to getting somewhere, access to living somewhere, access to eating something. But Hilti has been disrupting the construction and mining industries through doing something completely different. Hilti, a Liechtenstein multinational company that develops and manufactures products primarily to the professional end-user within the construction and mining industries, decided it was time to shift gears, and moved their core business from a purchase to a transactional / rental-based business model. They realised that what their customers needed most was not to own the tool to do a job, but have the right tool, at the right time, to do a reliable job. And they’re not alone. We’re seeing that trend all over the place – we no longer purchase as much music, we simply stream it from marketplaces, we may not purchase a car but simply pay to access the latest model, and Hilti is just one company that has been brave enough to look at the true value to their customer-base, and re-invent their organisation to suit.


Zara: Focussed Supply Chain

For one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, being able to adapt to new fashion trends within a couple of weeks, regardless of location, was critical. And for this Spanish fashion retailer, agility and a flexible supply chain was the answer. Their solution to always stepping out in front of trends as and when they hit the catwalk? Produce where they sell. Focussing on simplifying their global supply chain, the company wanted to remain as flexible as possible, from initial design through to final production. They reduced lead times, and kept the shelves stocked when they needed to – simply through adopting a more focussed supply chain route.


Birchbox: Subscription Services that Deliver

Similar to a move from Purchase to Access, the rise of the Subscription Box has been leading the way for businesses doing new and exciting things in the marketplace. We see subscriptions to healthy snacks delivered as and when you want them (Graze) and we see subscription boxes to your favourite monthly collection of new and unusual craft beers (Honest Brew), but we cannot mention subscription services and not mention one of the early adopters to a completely new consumer access point, Birchbox. This beauty startup, launched in 2010, was instrumental in creating a tidal wave of new business opportunities. Introducing us to the then unknown “expert curation” idea, Birchbox led the way towards ‘discovery e-commerce’, and the delight we taken in the joy of surprise – once again, placing the controls firmly in the hands of the consumer – and giving them authority on product development, selection and future development through reviews and feedback.


Doing something different in your own industry? We’d love to hear about it. Get in touch with us today.