Innovation without Boundaries: People’s Insights for August & September

In today’s tech-driven world, innovation is a necessity for business. It’s a stepping stone for  new entrants to the market, and it’s increasingly crucial for established players.

To stay relevant in this age of big bang disruption, tech-driven start ups need to continue to innovate, maintain their speed of growth, and predict (and deliver on) the next big thing. Established businesses need to re-examine their business models to address the threats from disruptive players.

The ever-evolving digital playground acts as a double-edged sword. It forces businesses to stay on their toes, while also allowing them to experiment with unchartered territories.

People are growing increasingly aware of how businesses impact society at large, and a collective conscience is on the rise. They expect businesses to solve today’s big challenges, to become change-makers and to lead the way to a better tomorrow.


In six years, Airbnb has impacted the hospitality industry significantly. Between 2011 and 2013, Airbnb cut the revenues of the hotel industry by 5% in the states where it was most active.

Meanwhile, Uber, has the taxi industry in an array, and the auto sector worried that people will be less inclined to own cars in the future.

Yet, Airbnb owns no properties, and Uber owns no cars.

In this issue of the People’s Insights monthly brief, we explore 9 trends that demonstrate that ‘business as usual’ is dead, and that technology is redefining business models, ethics and responsibilities.

– Making business a force for good

The concept of ‘butterfly effect’ comes to mind here, with some businesses responding – in big ways – to customers’ reactions, and other businesses launching their own movements for good.

  1. Delta Air Lines bans big-game trophies– After global backlash over the killing of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist in Africa, Delta Air Lines announced they were banning shipments of big-game trophies.
  2. Nike Flyease– In response to a letter from a young boy with cerebral palsy, Nike created a line of shoes for disabled athletes.
  3. Burger King’s ‘McWhopper’ proposal to McDonald’s– Burger King invited rival McDonald’s to come together for International Peace Day to jointly create the ‘McWhopper’ burger.
  4. Google’s Project Sunroof– Google now lets people map the solar potential of their roofs, right from their homes.
  5. Chivas Regal’s ‘The Venture’ – The liquor brand brings back its innovation challenge for a second season, to encourage social entrepreneurship.

What is off the hinges of custom,
people believe to be off the hinges of reason.

– Michel de Montaigne

– Building ecosystems

If businesses don’t evolve in response to changing market conditions and people’s evolving needs, they risk losing their competitive edge. This is especially true for leading social networks and apps – which need to build ecosystems to keep attracting people (old and new) and to develop revenue streams.

  1. Twitter’s ‘Buy Now’ button– Twitter is now expanding its ‘Buy’ button to allow anyone to sell via tweets.
  2. Uber’s ‘Arriving Now’ and Airbnb’s ‘Pineapple’ – Coincidently, both start ups are experimenting with their own print magazines.

– Digital privacy – how much is at stake?

Social networks may have largely proliferated almost every aspect of civilian and business life, but worries over data privacy and misuse remain one of the biggest concerns among businesses, governments and citizens alike.

Digital Privacy


















We seem to be at a cross-roads of the privacy issue. What happens though, as more and more businesses that promise transparency and privacy get embroiled in data-related crises?

  1. AshleyMadison Hack– The hacking of AshleyMadison, a website that enables extra-marital affairs, and the subsequent leak of its database demonstrates the devastating impact of privacy breaches.
  2. Twitter shuts down Politwoops – Twitter revoked access to its API to Politwoops, a website that archived politicians’ deleted tweets, raising concerns about Twitter going against transparency.

Read more in our People’s Insights monthly brief for August & September, Innovation without Boundaries.

Melanie Joe

Melanie Joe

Melanie is Consultant - Research and Insights at MSLGROUP, based in Mumbai. She tracks inspiring initiatives in the digital space for People's Insights.

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