Business Models Collide

Where do new ideas intersect? 

New business models can be fascinating when different paths intersect. Innovation Street meets New Idea Boulevard.

Take the idea of a magazine subscription that comes monthly and marry it to home delivery of videos. You get Netflix

When you mix the world of vending machines which are traditionally filled with food and beverage but you substitute videotapes in the machines, you get Red Box

Legal Zoom is another example of taking something that used to be very expensive (creating legal documents) and making them into more standard and off the shelf. So instead of paying an hourly fee for a lawyer to draw up a contract, you just by the contract and fill in the blanks. It is like the difference between a custom suit and buying at a retailer off the shelf. 

In all three cases, these brands redefine the category of what it means to get videos delivered by mail or accessible in a vending machine or to get legal help off the shelf. As outlined brilliantly in Youngme Moon’s book DIFFERENT that I reviewed here, you find true innovators pushing the boundaries of how a category is defined.

Here are three ideas. Some exist and some are extensions of things that exist. All of these are mash ups taking two things and blending them together.  What they do is merge two ideas and borrow from others. 

Farmer's Markets on Wheels 

The marriage between a farmers market and a food truck. Take the trend in food trucks and the growth and interest in local food turn it into a farmers market on wheels. It could help bring quality food to consumers in their neighborhood almost like a healthy version of the Good Humor truck. Imagine the bell ringing as the local farmer comes rolling into your neighborhood with the freshest food from his farms?  We have a Lo-Mo truck that comes to our office with fresh produce, eggs and baked goods.

Bringing produce to the people 
By the way, a variation on this idea is for grocery chains to take a truck and filled it with the top purchased items (milk, juice, eggs, bread, batteries, etc) and bring them into elderly neighborhoods where it would be easier for the retailers to come to the senior citizen. My mom would appreciate Kings Supermarket bringing groceries to her neighborhood a few times a week like the infamous ice cream truck. How about Walgreen's on Wheels? Or Voting on Wheels? Seems obvious. 

By the way, my Mom reminded me that fruit and vegetable trucks used to come down Catherine Street in Philadelphia in the 1920's and 1930's when she was growing up. Everything old is new again. 

From L.A. in 1921

I have had this idea for years and no one seems to get it but I believe it has merit. It would involve a store front that is divided into small private and quiet rooms. You would rent the room in half hour intervals. No electronics are allowed. There is no piped in music and the space is extraordinarily sound proof to keep out the noise. You can rent peace and quiet by the half hour. 

A place to do nothing
Nothing happens in the space but you get to catch your breath, relax and just sit or lay down on a sofa or a comfy chair. No drinks, no stimuli, no nada. Quiet by the hour.  (Working title for this chain would be Shhh...) There are plenty of spas and yoga studios. Plenty of spas have quiet rooms within them but this idea would stand on its own. Please be quiet would be their tagline. 

Start with the personal trainer who comes to your house to help you work out your muscles. Now, instead of someone working on your muscles, imagine someone working on your mind. They would visit Alzheimer and elderly people who need daily mental exercises. These cognitive trainers would be like “mental therapist” who helps practice exercises with the mind to keep people’s brains working.  Just like you would have a physical therapist  show up at home, this trainers would bring cross word puzzles, games, math problems, memory activities and other similar activities for a mental workout.

In home personal trainers for the mind 

Lifting emotional spirits and muscles
Homework assignment
How can you take your brand into a new space within the category you work within? Assemble a small team to come up with mash ups that alters how you distribute or deliver your product or service. Can you add a subscription service to what you do so the customer gets something every month? Can you bring your product or service to users through a mobile approach? If everyone else sells their product packaged in a jar, can you sell yours in a tube? Can your product be sold through a vending machine? Copy and borrow from another product, channel or category.

When ideas intersect, something different happens. 

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