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  • Writer's pictureAmir Hoshia

New business models emerged during the Coronavirus times. Are they here to stay?

What keeps the new business models alive after the crisis? I’ll try to demonstrate this by walking through an evolving model of a neighborhood market. I’ll also propose 2 models of action, with the aim of capturing the innovation opportunities created during this period.

There is no doubt about it. The coronavirus stretched the boundaries of human creativity in all sorts of ways. The crisis has radically changed the way of thinking and acting of individuals, businesses, and public bodies. This change was born out of the need for people and communities to deal with extreme situations, combined with a lot of free time and a sense that it is "time to do something different".

Business entities responded. They adapted the products, delivered them to our doors and practiced the remote working muscle. Citizens also responded. They increased community activity, prioritized local businesses and developed new skills - both professional and personal.

What will remain in the aftermath of the crisis?

The big question everyone is asking us today is: "What new models were created during this period and will remain with us even afterwards? Organizations trying to formulate their action plans for the New World are always searching for hidden possibilities and innovative solutions.

As always, the thinking of organizations - public and commercial - stems from a pressing need to react and adapt to the current situation. Often, the ability to determine the actual change processes occurring among their clients is weak and behind. When they discover these changes, they will hardly ever be the first ones to notice them...

A study we conducted in 22 countries around the world provided us with a key finding. Most truly innovative solutions and business models, which will remain with us in the future, are those created by individuals, not organizations. These solutions have been developed by individuals, communities, neighborhoods - initiatives commonly called "grass roots".

Why do local initiatives matter so much?

Local initiatives that survived the various phases of lockdown and the pauses between them, were built based on real needs and real motivations of real people. Individuals who have faced the changes around them and the loss of control over their lives. In many cases, true innovation is based on the same foundation. Such deep-rooted and unfulfilled needs arise and intensify in crisis situations. Such needs define opportunities for innovative and disruptive thinking.

We wanted to demonstrate one of the interesting models that had been developed globally during the crisis. Despite the differences between countries and localities, this model has survived and improved over the past year, and it symbolizes a fundamental change in consumption patterns, and moreover, it expresses how consumers have taken control of more parts in the value chain of the products they buy, the location, the quality and the price.

The model we will introduce is the "neighborhood market"

It all started one day, during the lockdown in March 2020, when an initiative was born out of the mind of a farmer who got stuck with a large amount of produce, which he decided to sell directly to residents of a neighborhood in a major city.

We asked ourselves, what made the neighborhood market model survive and even keep evolving?

● Wide variety of products

● Unconventional innovations and products

● Freshness

● Low price

● Convenience - to your door

● Control and monitoring by the vendor scoring model.

Residents are working hard to refine this market model, including sourcing, communications and distribution. It stems from a strong desire to preserve the unique values it created for them. No one came to sell them that service. They designed it themselves!

Local initiatives are not based on artificial and remote analyses, like those conducted by different corporations. Most of the analyses carried out by companies are based on already visible phenomena, which appear at high volume, or which competitors have already answered.

Opportunity model # 1

The role of local authorities has gained such importance in our lives and is expanding. Their closeness and integration within communities, as well as their availability and responsiveness to residents through Facebook and WhatsApp groups, have made them, in many cases, an “Enabler”. Not only a policy and enforcement body.

An "Enabler" platform responds to the real needs of people and communities. It allows people to initiate, support with resources, assistance and problem solving. Strangely enough, large corporations are disconnected from the real needs of the people, as is the government. They analyze their customers/citizens through sociodemographic segments and through data, representing past behaviors. They miss the emerging behavioral patterns, which will define the next big thing – an innovative product, service, business model...

Opportunity model # 2

The spark, the initiative, the business model is born of and shaped by the people, their needs, and the interaction between them.

The way organizations can innovate as they emerge from the coronavirus crisis involves a number of steps:

1. Learn what behavior has changed.

2. Understand the values those changes serve. Is there a real, durable value here?

3. Detect the enabler in the world of your service or product or become such an enabler.

4. Address the values that have changed. Not the behaviors. Behaviors will continue to change - values will remain unchanged.

Because ultimately, people know better!

Whiteboard is an global company for innovation development and service design. We create innovative and groundbreaking products and services in a variety of industries and sectors, both business and public, using technological and human means, in order to create impact and business differentiation.

Want to talk to Whiteboard innovation experts and rethink your business models?


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