Business Magazine

What's in the Garage?

Posted on the 27 November 2012 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

What's in the garage?Ways to do more with what you’ve got.

We were about age nine when my neighbor and I decided to explore the local creek. This required a boat.

What's in the garage?Using scraps of discarded material, we fashioned a marine structure with wooden bow and stern. We hammered corrugated iron around it, puttied up the cracks and made a trailer out of garden stakes and pram wheels to haul it to the creek.

It capsized on launch and sank within seconds.

We promptly scheduled a product review. We added outriggers buoyed by old petrol cans and lashed them across the beam. They sort of worked. With a bit of tweaking they held the canoe upright, preventing our early death by drowning.

It all seems a bit Tom Sawyerish now but I was reminded of it by this example of retro-innovation in Steve Johnson’s book, Where Ideas Come From.

Humidicribs dramatically reduce infant mortality. Aid agencies have shipped them to poor countries with great results. The problem is they cost up to US$40,000 and break down within a few years, usually in places where spare parts or skilled repairmen are hard to find.

In poor countries, however, self-taught mechanics manage to keep old automobiles ticking over. Drawing on that market reality, a Canadian consultancy, Design that Matters, re-engineered the humidicrib to depend on car parts.

They replaced heaters with headlights and air circulation systems with dashboard fans. The whole thing could be powered by a motorcycle battery. The parts were readily available and plenty of people knew how to fix them. It’s the case for simplicity.

Often your simplest strength is your core strength.

What's in the garage?The power of radio is that it only takes one human sense – hearing – to access it. When TV arrived, pundits predicted radio’s demise. Instead, it thrived in the car and reinvented itself via chat shows and breakfast programs. It has survived the internet. In fact it’s on it.

At the opposite end of the senses spectrum, TV did not eliminate cinemas. People still wanted the full-scale attack on your senses a movie theater delivers. Premium theatres have since added food and wine, adding taste and sustenance to steal wallet share from restaurants and bars.

Time for a product review?

  • What have you got that still works? Men still use after-shave. In fact Gen Y males demand more grooming products than their fathers. That led Proctor and Gamble to re-launch Old Spice with new names like Red Zone and High Endurance, marketed via hip online videos. (This was aggressive reinvention. If you missed the campaign, click here to watch some inspired rebranding.) What have you got that could benefit from some rebranding? 
  • What’s changed? Cirque du Soleil realized cultural shift was turning people off caged or trained animals. They launched an animal-free circus with spectacular human acts wrapped around stories which were often based on animal themes. The result is a global success. Is it time to adjust your offering and take advantage of market shifts?
  • What's in the garage?What else can you do with what you’ve got? Reinvention doesn’t confine itself to ancient businesses. Amazon may have started selling books; now it sells anything. It’s the pipeline rather than the product that drives the business. Many think the second most popular search engine is Yahoo. It’s actually YouTube. It just happens via video. Is there a tangential opening to do more with what you've got?

When it's time to refresh your business, check that you are optimising what you've already achieved. You can always tinker with your product but don't overlook other opportunities in your processes, your sales network or your people.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • What a Weekend!!!

    What Weekend!!!

    I’m still reeling from the killer weekend we had with our baby girl Alyssa. It started Thursday night with a double-grandpa quiet dinner and ended Saturday... Read more

    The 05 March 2013 by   Steveonline
  • Get Ahead Club Interview: How To Ask For What You Want

    Ahead Club Interview: What Want

    This week, members in the Get Ahead Club had the opportunity to listen to my interview with Sara Laschever, Co-Author of Women Don’t Ask and Ask For It. Read more

    The 06 March 2013 by   Classycareergirl
  • What Puts the Meaning in Your Life?

    What Puts Meaning Your Life?

    Hitting midlife is not for the weak. But a positive out of getting old(er) is the desire to focus in on what is really important. Looking for meaning, the... Read more

    The 08 March 2013 by   Alizasherman
  • What is the HuB?

    What HuB?

    There might still be starving artists in this world, but you won't find any at the HuB! Part three in a series of articles explaining the who, what and how of... Read more

    The 22 January 2013 by   Cr8inc
  • What Raven Tools Can Do for Your Marketing

    What Raven Tools Your Marketing

    Trusted by thousands of online marketers for SEO, Social Media, PPC and Analytics The important thing to remember about Raven Tools is that it all started with... Read more

    The 12 April 2013 by   Zafar
  • Thrilling Thursday – What Does the Russell at an All-Time High Tell Us?

    Thrilling Thursday What Does Russell All-Time High Tell

    U.S. small-cap stocks surged to a record Wednesday as investors turned their focus to U.S. economic improvement and the smaller, nimbler companies that could... Read more

    The 03 January 2013 by   Phil's Stock World
  • What is the HuB? You Could Say It's Like Communism for Capitalists!

    What HuB? Could It's Like Communism Capitalists!

    The 2nd in a series of articles about what the HuB is and the companies who make it what it is!Missed the first article? Read it here!People ask me all the... Read more

    The 14 January 2013 by   Cr8inc

Add a comment