(And What Makes Them Tick)
David Rowan travels the globe in search of the most exciting and pioneering startups building the future. He’s got to know the founders of WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google, Spotify, Xiaomi, Didi, Nest, Twitter and countless other ambitious entrepreneurs disrupting businesses in almost every sector. And yet too often the companies they’re disrupting don’t get it. They think they can innovate through jargon: with talk of change agents and co-creation gurus, ideas portals and webinars, make-a-thons and hackfests, paradigm shifts and pilgrimages to Silicon Valley. But during this quest he’s also discovered some genuinely exciting and transformative approaches to innovation, both in start-ups and in established corporations that have re-invented themselves as radically as any start-up to stay relevant in a changing world.
Read on to find out more about these pioneering startups that are moulding the future with their sweeping innovation and the unique approach that keeps them at the top of their game!
A corporation re-educating Peru! Innova Cercado schools run by Intercorp provide scalable international quality education at an affordable price.
Innova Cercado is part of a growing chain of forty-nine low-cost high-quality private schools in Peru called ‘Innova Schools’, created with the San Francisco design agency IDEO in consultation with educationists from Harvard and Berkeley. But what’s even more remarkable about Innova is its ownership structure. This is a school network built and owned by Intercorp, a banks-to- supermarkets conglomerate that accounts for almost 4 per cent of Peru’s gross domestic product.
The National Roads and Motorists association, after repairing motorcars by the roadsides since 1920, redefined its role to stay relevant in its second century thanks to Rohan Lund.
Rather than see the rise of electric vehicles as a threat, Lund’s NRMA began rolling out Australia’s biggest fast charge network, offering free roadside charging to members. Rather than bemoaning how software was diminishing its roadside engineers power, his team started installing data-capturing devices in member’s cars to offer remote servicing and advance fault prediction. ‘It’s so we’re the ones disrupting ourselves Lund explains, ‘creating relevance before someone else does.’
A whole ecosystem of startups! Xiaomi-the phone giant-founded and headed by Lei Jun, is powered by 460 startups.
The best way to understand Xiaomi. Lei insists, is to see it as democratising access to smart, connected devices in the emerging Internet of Things. ‘We put an emphasis on high-quality products that help to create a connected lifestyle for everyone as we move into a new era of technological innovation. This doesn’t only mean smartphones, tablets, TVs, routers—we invest in startups that form what we call an ecosystem. We have hundreds of products that come together to create a lifestyle for our consumers.’
Defense Digital Service, guided by, Chris Lynch-‘pirates’ the Pentagon from within by using vetted hackers to identify vulnerabilities and security breaches in national security and the Armed Forces
Defense Digital Service, according to its Twitter biography is a team of nerds on a tour at the Pentagon to improve technology within the DoA, It’s made up of forty engineers, designers, project managers and bureaucracy hackers typically seconded from places such as Netflix, IDEO, Dropbox and Palantit, even technical talent handpicked from the Armed Forces themselves.
The bank that has ‘started-up’ into surgery-The OP Financial Group is a revered Finnish institution that has reinvented itself in a technology-driven world
Building on its daring move into medical surgery in 2016, the board decided to make a €2 billion investment in rebuilding OP over five years as a new kind of digitalized bank. What if it’s declared mission to promote its customer member’s ‘prosperity, well-being and security no longer means making loans to buy tractors, process storekeepers payments, or selling annual travel insurance? OP should maintain their wellbeing in a more direct way: by operating yet more hyper-efficient hospitals that repair their injuries and get them back to work as quickly as possible , with a health insurance business attached.
A civil servant-Kaspar Korjus is working to digitalize Estonia’s borders and transform its economy by attracting a global base of customers
Estonia’s answer is to allow almost anyone in the world to apply online to become a digital resident—an e-resident for a €100 fee , a passport scan and an uploaded photograph. But if you’re over eighteen and lack a criminal record, it does let you establish an Estonian company and trade globally from within the European internal market and you can use commercial banking services, run your business remotely and access local public services. By 2025 according to Deloitte, the e-residency programme could generate a €340 million in net direct financial revenue for Estonia, part of a €1.8 billion boost e-residency is forecast to bring to the national economy by then.
Nothing slow about snail mail! China’s postmen have built a retail search engine and real-time retail database through connecting remote village stores.
Ule is fast-growing national e-commerce network set up by China Post to build new revenue across rural China. The postal service is turning hundreds of thousands of village stores into hubs in a national retail-delivery network, linked together by a million postal workers. But it’s also using the new digital tracking systems inside each store to learn exactly what customers are buying across the nation at any moment. In a very Chinese way, China Post is collecting vast amounts of customer purchase data to understand shoppers’ desires and needs in unprecedented detail-creating the world’s largest real time retail database.
Vincent Cheng’s family cookware business, Meyer Industries Limited, launches a smart-cooking startup, Hestan Smart Cooking that leverages emerging tech to enable you to prepare a Michelin-quality meal at home in minutes!
You simply follow their recipes using an iPad app that, as you advance, sends precise instructions by Bluetooth to your connected saucepan. The saucepan, manufactured by a heat sensor inside the metal automatically cooks to the exact temperatures required using electrical induction from a nearby hot-plate. The process is called ‘guided cooking’ and it’s further proof of the internet’s power to disrupt every industry in touches, even the analogue world of pots and pans. Suddenly an aluminum –pan manufacturer can become a tech company with new internet-era business models.
© 2019 Penguin India