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Capturing the Unexpected Innovation - MTN villagePhone (Uganda)

Where should you look for the unexpected? Try finding a different world view.

"the unexpected success is not just an opportunity for innovation; it demands innovation. It forces us to ask, What basic changes are now appropriate for this organization in the way that it defines its business? Its technology? Its markets? If these questions are faced up to, then unexpected success is likely to open up the most rewarding and least risky of all innovative opportunities."

- Peter Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

At BRINQ, we believe those living in the Base of the Pyramid (BOP), the so-called poor, are a huge source for something unexpected: innovation. And particularly a type which we like to call "innovation in utility", the novel and unexpected ways in which people use technology. It's simple really, when does your invention become a true innovation?

Somebody uses it.

Lots of somebodies, and often in a way you didn't expect.

Discordant Notes - More Disruption for the Music Industry

Demonstrating Apple's GarageBand

Headlines about the assault on the traditional music industry are a common sight, but most often these articles concern the disruption of traditional distribution and sales mechanisms by peer to peer networks and digital media. Yesterday though, the New York Times ran an article describing the latest discordant notes for the music industry, "Home Sweet Studio", detailing the rise of the home recording studio and digital tools for content creation.

"Mr. Pierce is part of a quiet revolution in music-making: the move from professional studios to home recording. Making an album used to mean booking a fixed amount of very expensive time in a well-equipped but unfamiliar room; now, it can be a matter of rolling out of bed and pressing a button. Whether it's Mice Parade's indie-rock, Aesop Rock's underground hip-hop, the twilit ballads of Keren Ann, the mercurial California rock of the Eels or sweeping Top 40 contenders from Moby, more and more music is emerging not from acoustically perfect state-of-the-art studios, but from setups tucked into bedrooms and basements or simply programmed onto a laptop."

Disrupting the mainstream

Traditional companies in the multi-billion dollar recording industry can be described as providing three major services: distribution & sales, marketing, and recording. The rise of home studios and garage bands foretells the disruption of the third area, recording, but could also have impacts on the first two areas.

The Model T Trap - Capturing Future Value in the Base of the Pyramid

Base of the Pyramid ventures must find ways to embed themselves in their markets, capturing and leveraging local knowledge and shifts in perception, and to continue evolving their product and service offerings with their customers.

The Ford Model T: Available in any color as long as it's black.

In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T, a "car for the common man", which both created and dominated the modern automobile market for the next 20 years, with more than 15 million units sold in its lifetime. Ford, however, failed to read the changes in perception of the market he had created, and continued to offer only one model to an evolving market looking for upgrades. The upstart General Motors capitalized on this shortcoming and surpassed Ford and the seemingly unbeatable Model T, by providing a ladder of car brands and upgrades. Some argue that Ford never really recovered from that misstep. This trap of not understanding and capturing the future value a venture enables we dubbed the “Model T Trap”*.

What is Disruptive Innovation?

The disruptive-innovation theory explains why new firms armed with relatively simple, straightforward technological solutions can beat powerful incumbents, often creating entirely new markets and business models. The disruptive innovation theory was popularized in Harvard professor Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma".

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