The new investment capitalists now cluster in Shenzhen (Southern China), the best web designers are in Mumbai, the creative fashion houses are in Buenos Aires, green technologies are strongest in Shanghai. Digital brands become physical, physical add digital. Mobile networks embrace banking and shopping. Economic and social change are the catalysts to think differently, whilst digital and green tech are the means to innovate and grow.
• 23andMe’s DNA profiling for just $99 transforms our attitudes towards wellbeing, how we live our lives, from diet to insurance, and where we come from. The business model that makes such a price possible, is more like Google, all about selling data for research.
• Air Asia’s virtual business model enables it to be the world’s fastest growing and one of the most profitable airline, a fusion of luxury and low cost. The Virgin-backed outsourced model is a great example of focussed growth.
• Beauty’in from Brazil is a great example of thinking differently, and the fusion of different categories. The skincare is embedded in yogurt drinks and tasty candies, making morning your morning make-up routine fast and fun.
• Christian Audigier achieved high speed fashion leadership with brands like Ed Hardy through network-based licensing deals. No longer is making and distribution the heart of business. Ideas, design and partnerships are key.
• Godrej’s Chotukool is a great example of “frugal innovation”, simple and cheap ideas that can transform markets. The low-cost mini refridgerator gives 80% of India’s who cannot chill food, the opportunity to shop and store food safely and efficiently.
• Xiaomi has inspired Chinese youth, with its Android-based Apple-imitating MiPhone, that creates smartphones at razor-thin margins, but makes much great profits from its apps. Most significantly, the brand is inspired by rockstar-like CEO Lei Jun.
• Virgin Galactic seeks to innovate inter-continental travel, more than being a rich person’s alternative to Disneyland. With zero-emissions, Branson and team can take you to space, but have a more practical goal in mind too.
A new generation of market leaders is emerging in front of our eyes. Small companies, like speedboats, with the advantage of speed and agility, outthinking the big companies, supertankers who find it hard to change course. In the new world focusing on profitable niches, is much more successful than trying to achieve huge scale by developing average products for average people. The game has changed.