Next Generation Innovation

A bunch of colorful post it notes

What really matters

An interview with Captain Alex

Think about the future – today. In volatile times, this is more important than ever. How can innovations and new technologies help to position ourselves robustly for the future? And thus create value with Next Generation Innovation? Alexander gives us insights from innovation consulting. What is the key for future success? What matters when we think about the future today?

EARLY BRANDS Insight: Everyday you exchange ideas with exciting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial people. What moves people about the future of their company?  

Captain Alex: Every conversation is individual and so are the topics that move people. At the same time, everyone is aware that we live in a time of rapid change. In other words, in a VUCA world with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. There is a particular need to position ourselves robustly. My perception is: More and more decision-makers are concerned with the question of how innovation can create value for now and today – and also for future generations. Next generation innovation is a key to this. Especially in times of change.

VUCA: in our dynamic world, it is increasingly important for decision-makers to position themselves robustly for the future. Next generation innovation with values for future generations are crucial.

EARLY BRANDS Insight: How can companies position themselves robustly in fast-moving markets? 

Captain Alex: I think what is needed more than ever is a functioning core business with solid cash flow. Strong liquidity. With great employees and a consistent focus on customer needs. This is how volatile markets can be ridden and the future can be shaped at the same time. Simultaneously, it is more important than ever to recognize opportunities earlier – and to be prepared for them. What are products and services and also new markets that are attractive and relevant for next generations? What are opportunities to proactively think about social and environmental sustainability? How can the values of Generation Z be proactively incorporated? Which innovations create a positive identity among employees?

EARLY BRANDS Insight: What are examples for next generation innovation? What are exciting opportunities for shaping innovation?

Captain Alex: Have a look on everything that is currently building up in the dynamics around socio-demographic change. We should ask ourselves: What happens when baby boomers retire? When skills shortages more an more increase? From a cross-market and cross-industry perspective, this is where super-exciting business opportunities for new products and services can be found. To keep companies robustly for the future through innovative organizational development.

For market relevance and robustness of the company, it is also important to think about the social added value of innovations and new business models at an early stage. While a few years ago it was only Generation Z, i.e. post-millennials, today and in the future it will be crucial for more and more generations to design and market products and services in a socially fair and balanced way. This is also an opportunity to create identity for companies and employees.

EARLY BRANDS Insight: Which topics are most important to drive robustness and strength for the future and for next generation innovation?

Captain Alex: New technologies have always been a key factor in the future viability and robustness of a company. Along the entire value chain, new technologies can be used to leverage value potential, with employees and for customer satisfaction and as enablers or accelerators for new revenue streams. A good starting point are the needs of employees and customers. What are the pain points of employees? What are the needs of customers?

With a view to the next generations and future strength, the whole topic of “clean tech,” for example, is very exciting. In other words, clean technologies that save resources, reduce energy consumption, and cut waste and pollution. These are exciting starting points for innovative business models, the enhancement of value potential in the company and the development of new target groups and markets. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a production or service company. Because in more and more markets, industries and target groups, there is an increasing demand for environmental sustainability and the conscious use of resources.

Do you also want to think about tomorrow today? Let’s exchange ideas on how we can create value together for future generations. We listen to your topics, thoughts and questions. And how we can shape the future together in our creative space in Bremen.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

Next Generation Innovation

Do you want to think about tomorrow today and create innovations for future generations? Let’s exchange ideas on how we can create value together. We listen to your topics, thoughts and questions.

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Age Tech

Two men and a light bulb reflect on Age Tech innovations

For a more livable future

How innovation and technology enrich and facilitate life in old age

In a fast-paced world where technology is constantly advancing, one question is becoming increasingly important: How do we want to live in old age? This question is not only of interest to the older generation, but to all of us. Demographic change is leading to new needs: Life expectancy is increasing. “Old” people stay longer “young”, want more out of life, well-being and security. As a result, innovations and technologies are also becoming increasingly important. Not only because they make life easier and provide control in many respects. But also because more and more generations are becoming accustomed to them.


What exactly do we mean by the term “age tech”? Where can digital possibilities in care and living already provide social and economic benefits today? How can innovation & technology help take “aging” to a new level?

 
At EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants, we deal with innovations for the next generations daily. Innovation that resonates with people is our focus.
We know, Age Tech innovations, offer promising possibilities to improve the everyday life of seniors, relatives and caregivers. For a self-determined life, even in old age. The possibilities are already very versatile today:

Communication and everyday care

A key aspect between seniors, relatives and caregivers is communication. Innovative solutions can help seniors stay in touch with their relatives. Support care at home. Or, for example, enable easy exchange with care staff through intelligent systems. Communication even over long distances thus becomes “child’s play”. Due to the increasing shortage of skilled workers, the relief of nursing staff in their daily work is also a major challenge. Here, innovations can help optimize processes and enable caregivers to concentrate on what is really important: caring for people.


One example that impressively shows how great added value can be created with already existing technology is LifeLoop. A platform that actively engages family members in the residences of their loved ones. Through features like community calendars, group chats or various monitoring tools. Hayylo also offers a way to connect care teams with families, as well as other service providers such as senior choirs or senior trips. This saves time, effort and also costs. Communication made easier. In all areas of life. For seniors and also for their family members and caregivers.

 
“Generative AI” technologies also offer new ways to simplify everyday caregiving. Welbi, for example, automates administrative tasks for caregivers. This leads to a reduction in documentation workload. And it leaves more time for nursing care.


These innovations show how technology can help improve life in old age, but also enrich family members and caregivers. However, it is not just the technological solutions themselves that make a difference, but also the way they are tailored to the needs and wishes of older people.

 
Independent living and housing

One of the biggest challenges and desires in old age is the pursuit of a self-determined, independent and at the same time safe life. This is where technologies that enable seniors to stay fit come into play. Smart home applications that make life easier at home in old age and monitor health are also helping more and more people to live more independently in old age.

zwei Senioren gucken auf ein Tablet
Technology and innovations are also playing an increasingly important role in old age. Not only for more self-determination, control and safety – also for more comfort, fun and entertainment.

One example of this is SensorCall. A night light that monitors the activities of seniors and thus offers fall prevention. Those who live alone in old age thus have less to worry about. And relatives are notified directly of any abnormalities and can respond quickly.

Not every senior already interacts confidently with new technologies. Nevertheless, new technologies do not necessarily have a deterrent effect. On the contrary, they arouse interest. This is also what Obie does to keep seniors fit. Obie has developed room projections with activity and memory games. This means there is less time for boredom in old age. And technologies are also fun in old age.

Other innovations, such as GoGo, make it possible for seniors who are not so tech-savvy to simply request a ride, meals or household assistance by phone.

Innovative living concepts

Exciting developments are emerging in living concepts for the elderly that have the potential to significantly improve the lives of seniors. From technology-based solutions to innovative ways of living together, innovations offer many benefits.

Co-living, for example, is also becoming increasingly popular among seniors and promotes social interaction. Those who prefer to live together with like-minded people rather than alone in old age already have many options here today in addition to the classic residence or nursing homes. Lively, for example, implements a hybrid residential model, combining activities, living, care & service.

Developments in other areas of the real estate industry, such as Tiny Houses are also already tailored to the target group “seniors” and linked with innovative services.

The future of Age Tech

The future of Age Tech is promising, and we are sure that many more innovations will create value for living in old age in the coming years. The examples from this EB Insight clearly demonstrate the potential of Age Tech and the many opportunities it offers: From the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the use of sensors and IT platforms that connect people. The potential applications are vast and an example of how we at EARLY BRANDS create value with innovation and co-creation.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

Age Tech Innovation

Together, we can create a future where aging is not just another stage of life, but a time of growth, independence, and enjoyment.  Let’s dive in together!

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Operative versus future?

Pink and blue background

HOW TO CREATE THE FUTURE IN DAILY BUSINESS

Innovation Mindset 

For more than 15 years, we have been successfully shaping the future together with leading medium-sized companies and family offices. From this experience in innovation consulting we know: Operational tasks often outweigh innovation and future topics. First come, first served. That is clear. And the right thing to do. Companies live from day-to-day business. But: Tomorrow’s money will not be earned with yesterday’s products/services…

Our Innovation & Technology Consultants have developed 21 theses on how to enable an innovation mindset in everyday life. So that daily business and the future do not remain opposites. Catch the Future…! Get out of the operational hamster wheel and into the future…

Our top #5 insights for an innovation mindset:

#1 THE BIGGEST BOTTLENECK TO SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT MORE MONEY, BUT THE TIME AND ATTENTION OF CUSTOMERS, EMPLOYEES, AND PARTNERS.

What we mean by that? Innovations are made by people. But more importantly, wanted by people. Therefore: Listen. Even in day-to-day business: Ask customers and identify needs. Involve colleagues from other areas. Together, be open to new perspectives and horizons. This is how ideas for future topics and innovations can emerge from the market. And 1 + 1 quickly becomes 3…

#2 OUR CREATIVE PLAYING FIELD IS ENDLESS THANKS TO DIGITALIZATION. GET OUT THERE AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MANY OPPORTUNITIES.

Disruptions are rarely within your own core business. Therefore: think across markets and industries. Think outside the box, even in day-to-day business. Take time for creativity. And proactively open up playing fields for new opportunities and chances.

#3 MARKETS THAT DO NOT YET EXIST CANNOT BE ANALYZED.

In daily business revenues, sales and profit are the key indicators. Business cases are also a great support for future and innovation topics, to assess value potentials and markets at an early stage. But don’t invest too much energy here. Due to market momentum and volatility future cannot be planned – despite looking into the crystal ball.

#4 IT IS BETTER TO START IMPERFECTLY THAN TO HESITATE PERFECTLY. BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN INSTEAD OF PLANNING AND DESIGNING EVERYTHING DOWN TO THE SMALLEST DETAIL.

The future is not a plan that can be worked out step-by-step. Being fast is more important, because what is up to date today may already belong to the “old school” tomorrow. Therefore, courageously and agilely bring small balls into the air. Experiment, learn from it and then improve. Instead of investing high efforts already at the beginning.

innovation mindset für agile innovation

#5 MARKET-LEADING TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, AMAZON, FACEBOOK, AND HUAWEI INVEST 10-15% OF THEIR REVENUE IN INNOVATION AND APPLIED RESEARCH.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF YOUR COMPANY WORTH TO YOU?

Catch the Future…!  

Destination Future

Let’s talk

What are your topics? We cordially invite you to meet us in our Bremen creative space. Let’s discuss how we can shape the future together. Would you like to learn more about our 21 theses? Then write to us.

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DIGITAL SALES INNOVATION

DIGITAL contact routes – From b2b Sales to after sales services

How to make it perfect …

Customer needs are changing faster than ever. Digital technologies and new innovations create a “mobile-first and digital mindset”. Today, we use our smartphones for more and more daily routines: Mobile online shopping with just a few clicks, paying our bills digitally, or chatting with our “digital insurance broker”. Digital and fast customer experiences are omnipresent. Thus, also B2B businesses must review their contact routes and customer journeys – a positive customer experience leads to decisions whether to purchase or not to purchase products and services – not only in B2C, but also in B2B.

Our EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants set up four best practices for digital B2B customer journeys from our digitization consulting: From digital first contact, sales to after sales. To achieve more customer interaction, enthusiasm, and satisfaction. And even efficiency, productivity, and cost reduction.

VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Offer services and advice regardless of location

Experience WMF professional coffee machines digitally, visit the virtual showroom of elobau or get virtual advice on which Coca Cola products suit your company. Virtual showrooms make it possible to experience products and services easily, quickly, and cost-effectively. This gives customers a precise idea of products and services – without much effort or appointments for live demonstrations. And not only that. They are location- and time-independent and can therefore be visited around the clock from anywhere in the world. So, they offer a high degree of flexibility for sellers on the one hand and buyers on the other.

DIGITAL LIVE SELLING From digital contracts to live purchasing of products and services

From digital live chats like Snapview, digital style advice like Burberry or digital live shopping with Onlive, nothing is impossible when it comes to “Digital Live Selling”. Surely you have already put on a pair of glasses digitally at Mr Spex or virtually placed the Ikea Billy shelf in your living room? What we experience and learn as consumers, we also expect in business. Digital Live Selling is therefore also playing an increasingly important role in the B2B sector. Where can machines best be accommodated in the production hall? Which vehicles complement our fleet in a meaningful way? These and many more questions can be answered easily, quickly, and cost-effectively with Digital Live Selling. And not only that. Live contracts, including digital signatures and digital payment, make it possible not only to receive advice, but also to process the sales process completely digitally, with just a few clicks.

DIGITAL-SELF-SALES when customers do everything themselves

Online shopping 2.0 means purchasing products and services and concluding contracts – from any location and without any media disruption. Why not configure and sell new heating systems online via self-services, as Thermondo does? Or select an Audi in the configurator and purchase it completely digitally? Or a Scania? This is not only very easy for consumer goods in the B2C sector. More and more products in the B2B business can also be purchased by customers via “digital self-services”. This makes it easy for customers to do everything digitally, from selection and configuration to signing the contract. This reduces sales costs and at the same time increases customer experience and satisfaction.If help is needed in “self-service”, live chats / video or a chatbot can support – also digitally. To get assistance simply, quickly, and easily.

The digital contact route has many facets – from consulting and customer services to aftersales and maintenance, digital technologies can support you and your customers.

VIRTUALIZING TECHNICAL SERVICES maintenance time- and location-independent

Digital sales innovations can also be used to add value to “aftersales”, e.g., for service, assembly and repair work. For example, when service and assembly workers do not travel to each customer themselves but offer assistance and support remotely using innovative technologies. Examples are repair instructions with AR, technical maintenance and self-help or AR remote support. At this point, digital sales innovation supports a more efficient aftersales service – for both you and your customers. Costs and efforts are minimized, and high flexibility is enabled. Want to get more insight on this topic? Find out more in our insight “GET AHEAD WITH REMOTE AND AR“.

In conclusion, there are many ways to digitally shape your own customer journey. The examples in this insight are just a few of many. Which path is the right one is always individual – from company to company + from customer to customer. However, successful technologies and best practices are already waiting in the wings and can be easily and precisely integrated into your customer journey as a “quick win”.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

B2B Digital Sales

Do you also want to design creative ways for a B2B digital contact route? Then let us dive in together in your personal Insight Dialog “Digital Sales Innovation”.

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On the pulse of time

Turquoise hand is pointing to right side, stuck in a yellow and pink background

IDENTIFY AND UTILIZE NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES ON EARLY STAGES

Reasons why being up-to-date becomes more and more important…

Dynamics and complexity of our digital age gain momentum. Innovation and technological progress are fast and getting faster. We from EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants know: success much depends on having one’s finger on the pulse of time. That means: early recognize new technologies and innovations + adapt business values behind them quickly and agilely. Anticipate technological progress and take a pioneering position. Competitors also know that times are changing. So, those who are willing to become and stay successful must continuously shape and improve existing business models.

What does „on the pulse of time” mean? What is behind it? How to proceed and how to keep an eye on what’s happening around us?

Let’s get started – how do we stay up to date?

“Having one’s finger on the pulse of time” starts by recognizing that competition today takes place across different markets and sectors. Speed of change is very high and accelerates steadily. We live in an era full of creativity and innovation. Here, creative combinations quickly create new and disruptive developments that rapidly enhance through digital channels. At the same time, many valuable business opportunities for companies arise – with the potential to creatively enhance products and services. Thus, an early identification of business relevant innovations and new technologies is essential. Every company needs creative play grounds in order to combine them with internal ideas and strength – to move future-orientated products and services forward. Our keyword for that: Innovation & Technology Scouting. Early identify new business-relevant developments. Generate lots of inspiration for new business ideas. Gain an understanding of developments that are cutting-edge.

In our Innovation & Technology Scouting, we incorporate individual perspectives and thematic demands of employees, management and further stakeholders – always in close dialogue and with pinpoint accuracy. In addition to individual topics of interests, there are many interdisciplinary technologies like blockchain or artificial intelligence and general developments in topic areas like logistics or space every company should notice. Herein, many innovative and disruptive products and services can be created.

Many great scouting impulses concerning innovation and technology – what’s next?

Depending on our partner’s individual issues and topics, we creatively integrate scouting impulses into conception. Driven by dialogues and with productive, agile innovation and creativity methods. What are the most valuable opportunity areas for a certain company division? How to close strategic technology gaps? What are innovative possibilities for new services?

All these + further questions can be answered by the starting point scouting combined with the knowledge about internal strength. Important for that: open up to new innovative impulses and developments, that create totally new perspectives. In this way, 1+1 results quickly 3. The alpha and omega: Empathy. Listen to people and do not give “silo mentality” a chance. Do not get constricted but get open minded for ideas which differ from your familiar business model. That is how new business opportunities creatively arise: expand existing playing fields, think ahead, proactively create markets and solutions for customers. In this way and with knowledge about company objectives, challenges in market, customer and user pain points creative solutions for success in the digital age are created. Started across markets and sectors + creatively combined with internal ideas + tested early with real users…

… many ideas in the pipeline – how to start the ball rolling?

We know: implementing 100 great ideas at the same time is not effective. That is why priorities must be set and ideas must be evaluated. That does not mean to discard everything but to filter the greatest from the great. To find those ideas that meet market requirements and inspire customers. So that high values for companies are attained.

In the process it is essential to not put all one’s eggs in one basket. Stay flexible. Start many balls rolling. Keep an eye on markets, technologies and requirements and act flexibly. Only then, business opportunities can be utilized early in a pioneering position – from new income streams, quality and cost benefits through to new business models and innovative services.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

On the pulse of time

Let’s exchange ideas on how you can keep your finger on the pulse, too. Together, we shape innovations and new technologies for your future success. Wanted by employees and loved by customers. With added value for your company – and next generations.

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Inno­vation by recombination

Hands bringing together pieces of a puzzle

are you still brooding, or are you already combining?

Recombination: use the best of existing solutions and shape new paths of success creatively 

Innovation speed and dynamics highly gain momentum. Markets transform rapidly. Competition gets stronger and more and more diffuse. Day by day, our EARLY BRANDS Scouting Experts identify new innovations and technologies that have the potential to change whole markets and industries. Plus, many agile startups which operate different than usual.

How to keep pace with high innovation speed? How to keep the ball rolling?

First, it is not about chasing innovations. It is more about identifying new opportunities proactively + creating new innovations out of them. Something new. Something that enables to differentiate from existing solutions. The basis for success: market and customer relevance. What is the problem we want to find a solution for? How can we solve problems better than existing solutions already do? What enables us to inspire customers?

For this purpose, the wheel does not have to be reinvented in most cases. Often, similar problems have already been solved in other markets. Keywords: inspiration and innovation impulses. Already Joseph Schumpeter has known: about 80% of all innovations consists to a substantial extent of a recombination of knowledge that already exist. A few examples for that:

As a family man the founder of Toniebox identified the following problem: the CDs of his children scratch and rapidly become useless. Thus, his idea for the Toniebox arises. An audio system specifically made for children combining products and technologies that already exist: radio play + toy + audio system + speaker. A creative combination that raises more than € 50 m within the last two years.

Instead of selling tools to customers, Hilti took advantage of the rental model of other industries. They offer tools for rent + a precise fleet management + comprehensive services. A successful combination for high customer value for a great customer base.

Another example: the snowmobile. A recombination of many different products: tank + ski + motorboat + bicycle. Or: running sushi by which functionality of industrial assembly lines is used for higher customer experience in restaurants. And looking back a long way, we see that already the invention of the typewriter has been inspired by existing knowledge: 10-finger piano playing …

Innovation through recombination – creatively combine cross-market innovation impulses.

Recombination is not equal to copy-cat. Creativity, an open mind and passion to creatively shape new ideas is needed. Use the best from existing solutions + combine it with new knowledge to create new path for innovation. Important for that: think and act across markets and industries. Consider and multiply different innovation categories from product to service through to new business models. Proactively scout for innovation and technology opportunities + identify and adapt innovation impulses, best practices and success stories early.

Essential for that: people. Brilliant minds + different perspectives. Having a great knowledge base is a good starting point. But using it creatively, filtering the best out of it, and developing innovations through recombination requires interaction between people, creativity and ingenuity.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

Let´s Recombine

Let’s open up innovation spaces together through recombination – for new, attractive revenue sources in existing and new markets. Together with you, your employees + partners.

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Keep Customers Happy

WOW banner in front of a blue background

Know your customers to make them happy

The positive customer experience as a key to success …

In our dynamic age, not only technologies, innovations and markets change continuously and rapidly. Also, customers, their needs and expectations gain momentum. There are many reasons for that: high product variety, new digital business models and services, an increasing number of possibilities to (digitally) interact with companies and brands. Today’s customers are more and more digital. “Always on” and “Always Ready“.

That’s why it is more important than ever to make customers happy. And that only is possible knowing your customers well. Do not only get into your customers shoes – walk with them. This EARLY BRANDS insight provides inspiration from our Digitization Consulting for a successful customer experience …

PAIN POINTS VS. POSITIVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Starting point for a successful customer experience: your customers’ pain points. Emotions are stronger than the best technology. Have a look on your customer journey. Slip into the shoes of your customers and experience the customer journey for yourself: Is the e-commerce process too complicated? The service not intuitive? Is the chatbot not “smart enough”? Is your sales hotline difficult to reach?

A positive customer experience is the top priority of your customer journey. With contact points that inspire people. With a WOW! effect. And turn customers into satisfied customers. But: pain point does not remain the same pain point. The increasing number of innovative possibilities and services make it necessary that you always keep the ball rolling. Who would have thought 5 years ago, to test and buy the right lipstick “virtually” from the comfort of your own home instead of in the drugstore? Who would have expected that we would no longer take out loans at our house bank, but with a few clicks from the sofa online? Without long contract negotiations, but according to our whishes? Yesterday we trusted the local craftsman when we needed a new heating system. Today we configure and order it online. Directly. Digitally. And 100% adapted to our needs.

What can we learn from this? Knowing the pain points of your customers, knowing what bothers them, you will be able to find possibilities and ways to solve them. In classic, analogous ways. But also, more and more digitally. Customer Journey: 360° to the wishes and needs of your target groups. With the WOW! effect. Pain points are just as fast moving as new products and services themselves. Foresight. Courage. And a large portion of creativity is required. It is not only about knowing what customers want, but also about finding out what customers might want in the future. So, do not just focus on the needs of your customers – be creative and create some! This is how the positive customer experience is guaranteed to become successful.

ADDED CUSTOMER VALUES BEYOND CORE BUSINESS

Also, it will be very valuable offering customers added value in terms of products and services – and thus positively shaping the customer experience. Therefore: a successful core business is the basis – but services/products around it could be a key success driver. Thus, open your eyes for attractive ways to extend your value creation chain. Create added value and customer experience beyond your core business. Ask yourself: what services and benefits can be offered to customers – before or during the purchase phase? While using your product/service? Or at the end of the life cycle? Which upstream and downstream processes can you integrate into your value chain? Which new, innovative mainstays and business models are attractive to your customers?

Do not only offer cars for sale: bring the right financing and insurance and register the car for your customer for free. Do not just deliver packages – but keep your customer up to date with personality and complete transparency. No longer just sell machines but use the potentials of industry 4.0 and have tailor-made services or software solutions for your customers in your pocket. Proactively search for new sources of revenue through new technologies and innovations that inspire customers. Always think outside the box and create opportunities for customer experiences beyond core business. You do not have to do this alone. Look out for the right partners for a successful ecosystem – be stronger together. This is how you create added value and a positive customer experience – quickly, agilely and collaboratively.

We at EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants know that a positive customer experience is a key to success. Together with leading brand and technology companies, we successfully make customers happy. Whether in Bremen, Hamburg or Telaviv – we design customer journeys with the voice of customers and users. Considering individual requirements + analogue and digital innovations and possibilities.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

Keep Customers Happy

Shaping positive things and creating value with positive people. That’s what we love. Let’s make your customers happy – together.

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Business Model: Create the future today

Whiteboard with post Its

BUSINESS MODELS – WHO, HOW, WHAT AND WHY?

Create playing fields for the future – be quick and creative

Digital transformation. Complexity and dynamics. New technologies and innovations. Our time is spinning fast and getting faster. Even if we make efforts to calm down and relax by doing some yoga or meditation – our businesses are forced to keep one finger on the pulse of time. It is essential to anticipate market needs of tomorrow already today. And continuously align business models to that. What are business models about? Why are they so important today?

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH BUSINESS MODELS?

When we google “business model“, we get more than 4.710.000.000 results – many different definitions for one single term. In a nutshell: a business model makes transparent how companies create, express and assure values. We understand business models as playing fields for the economic success, competitive edge and innovational power of our partners.

BUSINESS MODELS –  THE WHY AND WHEREFORES

While automobiles needed more than 80 years to be established in 50% of the population, Apples’ iPhone was rolled out in just 8 years. That makes clear: Those, who do not put one eye on the challenges of tomorrow, probably disappear the day after. In the dynamics of our time, life expectancy of companies with static business models is steadily decreasing. Why? Rapid changes within the digital age continuously challenge companies. Customer and user need steadily change. Competition increases: cross-market and cross-industry. Digital Natives are skittish. Loyalty is more like an alien concept. New startups and innovative services from blockchain to artificial intelligence (AI) edge into our markets day by day.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS OF A BUSINESS MODEL?

Ever since the stone age, every business model needs a clear and market-relevant unique value proposition for their target and user groups. According to out-of-Africa theory, already 7,000 years ago dugout canoe achieved a unique value compared to commonly used rafts: crossing seas and oceans without getting wet feet.

Keimling wächst aus Boden, Symbol für Erfolg mit Geschaeftsmodellen

Which problems in your playing field (market) can better be solved with innovative products and services (solution) compared to current solutions? What are (new) income streams? How does the cost structure look like? These are key questions, when creating business models.

Another element: WOW! factor. What inspires customers? How to reach differentiation from competition? That is a key point to be defined – in collaboration with employees, partners and users. So that business models come to live. Apple’s fist iPod has been a WOW! – easy to use, stylish cover with unique setting dial (Jogdial) to select songs quick and easy. Amazon’s WOW!: product recommendation “What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?” Also, the first joystick inspired with “rapid fire” already 30 years ago. In sum: What is your business models’ WOW!? How can you steer the WOW! into user-relevant directions?

HOW TO (FURTHER) DEVELOP BUSINESS MODELS?

EARLY BRANDS business model development = quick + agile + close to markets and customers. We do not need detailed strategies. Developing innovative business models close to markets requires agility and premature integration of users and customers.

Agile Geschäftsmodellentwicklung im Team mit Post-Its

Continuous user feedback from day 1 is essential. Employees, partners their ideas and thoughts are key success factors. Focus on empathy and needs.

Creative tools and innovation methods like business model canvas, use cases, build-measure-learn with user feedback or  Innovation & Technology Scouting are very useful. But: you need an awareness that business models are not perfect. And they do not have to be. They depend on new impulses. Thus, develop business models step-by-step. Explore, test and incrementally improve each business model element. Always remind yourself: the wheel does not always have to be reinvented. Even small changes can cause big leverages.

BUSINESS MODEL – HOW TO ROCK FORWARD?

It’s clear as daylight: our world rapidly moves forward. Nobody can pause and enjoy success with existing business models. Successful products and services are not a remedy and success guarantee for the future. Thus: continuously challenge yourself. Keep one finger on the pulse. Develop business models close to markets and put things on the right track at the right time. As markets, customers and technologies constantly change it is vital to continuously adjust and enhance business models. With different playing fields.

This is precisely where we at EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants provide support. Precisely. Individually. And with a focus on values for next generations.

Catch the Future…!

Destination Future

Create Future

Keep your finger on the pulse… This is exactly what we at EARLY BRANDS Innovation & Technology Consultants stand for. Precisely. Individually. And with a view to values for future generations.

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Innovative business development

High speed is virtualized by different colors and poeple rushing

YOUR TICKET FOR THE FUTURE

Our tips for company leaders for successful business development

Digitalization more and more gains momentum. At the same time, some of us find themselves at the very beginning. In many cases, focus is on IT processes, data and digital tools. Thus, many companies miss out what really matters in the digital age: innovative business models that meet market and customer needs. What are key success factors – we give insights from our digitization consulting

# 1 Identify opportunities CROSS-market and -industrY

To stay on track in the digital age, keeping an eye on new business opportunities, technology trends and competition is essential. Thereby, decision makers need to broaden their perspectives for all the opportunities that arise around markets and companies. Market research, trend studies and segment reports are not very helpful for that. Markets are only as big as you define them. Thus: Become faster. Stay on the pulse of time. From early stage scouting to creative business development. The only way to do it is to do it!

# 2 Think and act in a variety of innovation categories

Think outside the box. Identify trends and new technologies across different innovation categories. Recognize and utilize business opportunities at very early stages. Be faster than competition. Think and act – not only in new product and services – but also in opportunities that predict scalable values. Why expanding product lines again and again so that customers become unable to recognize teeny-weeny differences? It is much more promising to invest time and power of employees, partners and suppliers in opportunities that open new horizons. It is not very promising to spent time solely with product and sales optimization with endless development loops. In our digital age it is not important how “premium” or “cheap” a product is – there might be no market for that tomorrow. Disruption takes place every day – so let’s be prepared

# 3 Continuously reinvent yourself

The digital age is characterized by speed and dynamics. Would the Volksbank in “Schnickschnackwinkel” have thought that most of their customers prefer PayPal to pay their online purchases, ten years ago? Would PayPal have thought that decentralized paying systems via blockchain were able to disrupt their business model, 2 years ago?

It is necessary to continuously put business models to the test . Further develop, dismiss and redesign – agile, flexible and with minimal risks. BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN close to the customer from day 1. Adjust your business to the needs of customers and steer them in new, market-relevant directions. Use innovative ideas and the power of creative people to find new ways – from new valuable income streams, higher productivity through to improvements of customer satisfaction or sustainability.

# 4 Focus: people, needs, ideas

Innovation and technologies do not provide guarantee for success in the digital age. The greatest idea and the most innovative business model are not valuable without one crucial success factor: PEOPLE. Let us think about it: Who proactively and jointly develop ideas and bring innovations to success? – your employees. Who step-by-step steer ideas in market-relevant directions? – your users. Who provide knowhow and expertise and collaboratively accelerate success in the digital age? – your ecosystem partners. Who create room for new ideas and changes? – your management and leadership. People 1st from creative ideas to market success.

Innovations Team jubelt über Erfolg der Geschäftsentwicklung
For successful business development, one thing counts above all: people.

# 5 Many roads lead to success

Incubator rather than accelerator program? Either focus on internal ideas and an external innovation team or EARLY BRANDS innovation and technology consulting? Co-creation rather than in-house developments?

The answer for these questions: there is no “either or” or “rather than”. For successful business development, there is no crucial way that can guarantee success. Competition is hyper-fast and aggressive. Thus: Exploit different innovation options. Maximize and multiply opportunities. Do not think in “silos” but join employees’ ideas with the power of strong partners like innovation consulting, tech partners, suppliers etc.

# 6 Diversified DYNAMIC portfolios

In the digital age a dynamic portfolio with innovative business opportunities is more important than ever before. That means to build potential action fields that enable to focus on business opportunities with high relevance for the near future. Concentrate on exploration and realization of most promising new business models. Keep the flexibility to start new market-relevant innovation initiatives ad hoc. Continuously enrich dynamic portfolios and flexibly adapt new developments and trends. Like Spray & Pray. Thus, you act on a pioneer position that makes you FIT FOR THE FUTURE.

Junge Frau mit Spray-Dose und Schriftzug Spray and Pray

# 7 Challenge spending behavior

New ideas and innovative business models can only rock forward if appropriate financial and human resources were invested. Money + people to proactively shape the future. Why is Amazon much more successful than Wal-Mart? One answer for this question: Investment and spending behavior. Focus on what really matters today: research and innovation. Experiments with new business models. Among the top ranked US companies by R&D spent, there is no trading or consumer goods company listed. Whether construction, brand company or bank: without shifting advertising and production budgets towards innovation and technology-driven business models there will be no successful business development for the future.

Catch the Future …!

Destination Future

Future Shaper

Creating positive things with positive people, creating value for the next generation, that’s what drives us… That’s our mission.

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