Innovation happens when change is made to disrupt established ways of making and doing things and gives birth to new products, services, technologies and a shift in thinking. A recent Forbes article noted the “terrible irony” of the New York Times own Innovation Report being scooped by BuzzFeed when true innovative thinking would have caused the Times to publish it online themselves.
Some places may be slow to innovate. But in our current global economy, competition is everywhere. Disruption of established models is not a choice for business survival. It’s the only way to survive. Here are a few examples of how “the way things have been” is changing.
Most of us probably don’t think of our medical providers relying on Google, but apparently they do. Or at least up until now they have. BetaBoston recently reported on a new search engine focused on the medical profession. Dozens of hospitals in the United States have been using a beta version of Parzival to help find specific, reliable and peer-vetted information about diseases and treatments. The current focus has been emergency medicine, but expansion plans include many different medical specialties. Perzival is a startup company raising seed money. Google isn’t that far off from the group. One of its co-founders includes a former Google software engineer.
Back in 2010, NBC News reported that a serial killer was caught after a police officer went undercover as a waiter in a restaurant. Utensils, glasses, napkins and leftover food were used to get a DNA sample. A new product coming to the market could make that kind of work a bit harder according a Fast Company article. Erase and Replace are the parts of a two-step sanitizer spray called Invisible. It cleans away 99.5 percent of genetic material and scrambles the remaining .05 percent. Soon everyone will be able to buy both for $99.00.
3) Drive & Fly
If you ever watched the 1960s cartoon called The Jetsons, you may have dreamed of a future with flying cars. It may have taken a while, but don’t let that dream die just yet. CNN tells us that aerospace company Terrafugia is working on it and has two flying cars in the works. One is The Transition.
According the website, it “ brings a new level of freedom, flexibility, and fun to personal aviation by combining driving and flying in one state-of-the-art vehicle. … A steering wheel and gas and brake pedals on the ground make it familiar to drive while a stick and rudder pedals provide responsive control in flight. … Running on premium unleaded automotive gasoline, the same engine powers the propeller in flight or the rear wheels on the ground. =Converting between flight and drive modes is comparable to putting down the top on your convertible and you can keep the Transition® at home in the garage: flying has never been so convenient!”
The other car is TF-X, described as “the practical realization of the dream of countless visions of the future; it is designed to be the flying car for all of us.”
Charter schools are often controversial, but they are also quite popular. Online learning has become far more common recently and now the two are combining with virtual charter schools. WMTW reports that Maine Connections Academy is now enrolling approximately 300 students in grades 7-12 for this coming fall. The website says it includes clubs and activities, is tuition-free and lets student learn at home while still receiving a curriculum that meets state standards.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like living a more agrarian lifestyle, you can try it out. Stonehaven Family Farm in Westport, Massachusetts lets you participate in farm life as much or as little as you would like as a farm stay guest. You can “feed the sheep, ducks, and chickens. Collect eggs warm from the nest, or help our Border Collie, Cody, herd the sheep. In summer you're welcome to work in the garden and to harvest all the seasonal vegetables you can eat.”
These are just a few examples of how across different sectors, we can see how older business models innovate to meet the needs of a changing world. If we want to keep up with the times, sooner or later, learning to innovate is something that we will all need to do.