i3 - November/December 2016 - 62

Business

By Scott Steinberg

FO RWA R D ST R AT EG I E S

E

xecutives often view new technology as expensive and
time-consuming to implement. But they may miss how
simple, cost-effective, and powerful technology tools
can solve problems and drive major breakthroughs.
Here are a few examples:

1

When educational leaders in
Pittsburgh wanted to teach STEM
to kids, they faced a challenge:
How to do so in a scalable, sustainable
and cost-effective way in a public school
system plagued by budget cuts? The
answer was to create the Children's
Innovation Project - a non-profit
partnership that provides elementary
school kids with user-friendly high-tech
construction kits - then asks them to
experiment to solve problems. Children
who use these tools to build working
circuits and light switches demonstrate
rapid learning abilities and are more

patient, persistent and creative. In some
cases, they're even teaching their teachers
how to use these tools.

2

If you own a real estate firm in
the crowded New York market -
how can you compete? Boutique
agency CORE uses artistic, documentarystyle videos to showcase new listings,
notching up $5 billion in transactions and
selling out entire buildings sans advertising. Rival agency Halstead focuses on
busy buyers who don't have time to make
on-site appearances. It provides virtual
tours shot by drones to capture gorgeous
hi-res imagery to let viewers explore
a property. And competitor Douglas
Elliman Real Estate's new mobile app
called Elli uses augmented reality to let
buyers hold up their smartphone camera
to any building to discover if there's an
apartment for sale inside.

3

Like many firms, coffee chain
Starbucks worries about staying
relevant to its customers. As a
result, it rolls out new payment solutions,
online ordering programs and product
concepts. But it's also shockingly clever
about finding ways to get customers to
suggest new solutions - a philosophy
reflected in MyStarbucksIdea.com, a
website where patrons can submit new
ideas for drinks, merchandise and hightech buying options. Easily built and
implemented, this solution removes most
of the risk and uncertainty from introducing a new venture and has generated
more than 53,000 ideas.

62

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

4

MasterCard now describes itself
as a "technology and innovation company" dedicated to
relentlessly engineering new services and
solutions by: 1. Sponsoring global innovation laboratories. 2. Creating internal
startups (companies within the company).
3. Running creative competitions for
employees to experiment with new ideas.
4. Partnering with outside organizations
to develop new products, services and
solutions. New creations include Qkr, a
smartphone payment app to order food
from your sports stadium seat and a
mobile app to pay to do your laundry at
Maytag laundromats. Qkr was developed
in 48 hours at an Innovation Express
hackathon event to create working prototypes. The high-tech laundry project
took 4.5 days to develop with help from
Maytag's engineering team.

5

When auto manufacturer
Hyundai experienced a drop in
consumer spending during the
Great Recession, unlike competitors, it
didn't immediately cut prices. Instead, it
decided to get smarter about its approach
to business intelligence. The company
polled customers and discovered that the
reason for the dip in purchases was the
risk associated with buying automobiles
in uncertain times. Instead of slashing
price tags, Hyundai slashed risks instead,
and marketed a no-strings-attached refund
if shoppers lost their job within 12 months.
The company's sales doubled in January
2009, while the industry's plummeted 37
percent, the biggest drop since 1963.
Technology clearly fuels innovation but it
often doesn't take the time, expenditure
or even scale of implementation to effect
positive change that most executives
believe it requires. Technology is simply
a tool and the more clever you are about
leveraging it, you will discover it has the
power to provide exponential gains at a
fraction of the effort and cost.
n
Contact Scott Steinberg at
www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

GARETT MOSHER/ISTOCK
CREDIT

Five Ways Technology
Can Fuel Success


http://www.MyStarbucksIdea.com http://www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2016

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i3 - November/December 2016 - Contents
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i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover3
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