You may love innovation and invention, and you may not. For those of you who aren’t sure about the role innovation plays in today’s business, read on to discover five companies that put their innovative/invention skills to the test.
Alphabet. The founders of 20-year-old Google have not lost their taste for self reinvention. In 2015, Google founded this American holding company to hold Google and it’s web-based innovations, as well as the self-driving cars and AI inventions into which it will dabble in the future. Google deserves kudos for Alphabet if only because it is such a big risk. Not all of the innovations that the founders envision will bear fruit and Google’s future leaders may lack the vision needed to carry out these dreams.
The company’s biggest challenge currently is overcoming European anti-trust issues.
It’s biggest advantage so far is the most affordable virtual reality, cutting edge technology on the market and algorithms unrivaled in their effectiveness.
BuzzFeed. Founded in 2006, this New York internet media company transformed itself from a platform of shareable videos and “listicles” into a media presence that today provides political commentary, personal essays, and breaking news. BuzzFeed has 11 versions of itself from Australia to Mexico and, as of January 2016, has $300 million in capital. Social media platforms provide 75% of the traffic to BuzzFeed’s site, of which Snapchat provides 21%. The site has 85 million visitors each month.
In 2015, NBC Universal invested $200 million in BuzzFeed.
CVS Health. Two years ago, CVS Caremark reinvented itself as CVS Health which now not only provides pharmacy services, but has brick-and-mortar stores, in-store health clinics, and a Digital Innovation Lab which creates smart devices and applications for those devices, all intended to improve customer health care.
This is not your Dad’s drugstore. The on-site MinuteClinics provide flu shots, cholesterol screenings and some simple diagnoses (like urinary tract infections). The company produced an AppleWatch compatible app that allows customers to scan prescription orders and ID cards into the system and to set reminders to take their medications. CVS looks forward to the most innovative of its changes yet: CVS Health partnered with IBM to use the Watson intelligence system to predict which of their customers need intervention before they slip into medical crises.
Netflix. This popular video on-demand entertainment company has more than 75 million monthly subscribers in 190 countries and its stock has risen 500% in five years. If that weren’t enough, Netflix decided in 2011 to start making its own Netflix Original productions. The company appeals to niche viewers and gives them the movies or the shows they won’t want to miss. Netflix queries after a few hours of solid TV time: “are you still watching XYZ show”? This is a result of the new social phenomena that finds Netflix customers “binge watching” whole seasons or even an entire series of their favorite genre (sans any commercials) on Netflix.
Netflix’ biggest advantage is its budget: $5 billion in 2016.
Netflix’ biggest challenge going forward is finding studios happy to license productions on a global or worldwide basis.
Uber. Uber is one of America’s app-based transportation systems, well-known for its taxi, private car, and ride-share platform. The car service began in 2010 hiring independent contractor drivers that riders hail from an app at prices that are often lower than traditional taxicabs. The company caused serious disruption in the taxi industry.
The company reinvented itself in 2015 when it added UberRush, a messenger service. It also added Uber for Business Profiles which helps business people keep their business Uber account separate from their personal one. UberEvents helps event organizers prepay rides and distribute Uber passes to event attendees.
Valued at $50 billion, Uber is the most valuable startup in the world.
Uber’s biggest advantage is the data it mines from its passengers. Uber passes this data to other companies, like Starwood Hotels which allows Starwood Preferred Guest members to rack up Starwood points when they ride as passengers with Uber.
The company’s biggest challenge is that the personal transportation field is highly competitive and has regulatory challenges.
To read more about the most innovative companies, read fastcompany.com’s article entitled “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2016” which was the inspiration for this post.
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