Service Innovations over time…

SaaSI was in an exchange with Jim Spohrer (of IBM) the other day about Service innovations and he gave me the following lists dealing with service innovations:

Top Ten Service Innovations in all of History
1. Division of Labor – an entity gets to do more of what they do best, and less of what they do less well
2. Cities – local concentration of division of labor, including security and protection
3. Writing – allows communications over distance and time
4. Written Laws – brings more objectivity into governance and justice
5. Money – brings efficiency into exchange transactions
6. Universities – local concentration of division of knowledge, including preparation of next generation
7. Democracy – collective decision making via voting (citizen -> decision)
8. Republics – two stage collective decision making via voting (citizen -> representative -> decision)
9. Checks – safer than carrying paper money
10. Banks – safe storage of money, and compound interest/loans

Top Ten Service Innovations of Last 100 years

1. Universal Education – increases capability of population, and allows more complex problem solving
2. Universal Service – even rural people can communicate, and have right to communicate efficiently
3. Rural Electrification – even rural people can have lighting and access to modern appliances
4. Credit Cards – convenience and safety
5. Loyalty Programs – incentives for usage
6. Franchises – standard service in multiple places
7. FedEx – overnight package delivery
8. Automobile Transportation – systems of filling stations, roads, laws
9. Internet & Worldwide Web – access to information
10.  Wireless Communication Networks – Radio & Television – conquest of distance and access to service

Top Ten Service Innovations of Last 10 years
(or so)
1. Amazon – market for books and things
2. eBay – market for personal stuff
3. iTunes – market for music
4. Etsy – market for home made things
5. Uber – market for rides
6. AirBnB – market for rooms
7. Smart Phones & App Economy – access to information, communications, and other mobile services, including cognitive assistants
8. MOOCs – massively open on-line courses to augment education
9.  Mutual funds – finance investments that provide benefits of diverse portfolios
10. Global IT-enabled Outsourcing – division of labor between nations and large corporations

I’d add 3D printing to this list myself, but that may be just me.

Top Ten Service Innovations that broke out in 2014
1. TransferWise – lower transaction cost of transferring money
2. Coinbase – bitcoin digital wallet
3. Apple Pay – easier to pay money out
4. Lending Club – easier method to get investments in and out (founded in 2006)
5. Quirky – inventor community (started in 2009)
6. Bill.com – small business pay bills better (started in 2008)
7. Betterment.com (investment personal assistant)
8. Kickstarter – crowd funding (I think this actually started in 2009)
9.  Amazon Echo (home assistant)
10. Google Nest (home assistant) (actually the first Nest appears to be released in 2011)

Some things to think about…
What would be on your list? What should make the list for 2015? Do these innovations have anything in common?

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Doesn’t appear there is really a way out of short-term business thinking

timeIn a book excerpt released by McKinsey , they provide a perspective about what it will take to shift markets away from a short-term way of thinking. They pulled together a range of heavy weights to talk about their opinions on this topic.

Nitin Nohriafocused on the CEO and their “crush of immediate concerns”. This seems to based on a supply side view that the executive controls the value. As a business school dean, this is probably an area where he feels some influence and control.

Nick Carrfocuses on the people and the structures in the businesses that encourage a short term approach and even blames the technology as enabling distraction (he has almost made a career out of blaming the poor use of technology). He makes a valid point though that deep thought is not valued – it just takes too long for some. His concerns are more of a supply side perspective, as well.

Lim Chow Kiat – here is a person who looks at how companies are valued and the longer-term concept of fundamental value – a demand side set of concerns, coming from an investment leader. Unfortunately, he then goes on to talk about how the ‘wrong words’ from a company can undermine its value – regardless of its fundamentals. I was hoping for something more about what needs to shift in the market’s evaluation approach for these longer term issues to be valued.

Ronald O’Hanley looks at the company’s board, stating:

Unless we can make long-term thinking the driving force behind the mission and governance activities of boards, no amount of change to management incentives or investor behavior or the like will be sufficient to ensure a focus on the long term.”

Once again going back to a supply side view: if boards do the right things, companies will be less of a victim and the market will recognize it.

Charles Tilleyfocuses on the accountants and the issue thatMore than 80 percent of the market value of companies now lies in intangible assets”, and accountants don’t do well with intangibles. Long term thinking (almost by definition) is intangible. Based on some of the strange market valuations seen in recent years – the market’s really don’t handle intangibles rationally either.

Unless the market starts demanding long-term vision and justification, there is no hope that the company’s leadership (at any level) will be truly strategic.  The middle management will do many short-term actions, that are clearly not in the best interest of the corporation and everyone up and down the line will salute in justified agreement.

I was surprised that in this interesting article with such a diverse set of thought leaders there was so little expectation-of-change in short-term thinking being placed on the demand side and no real controls (or knobs) shared to make adjustments or influence assessments.

After all, it is the buyer who defines what something is worth. The seller just tries to influence it.

What am I missing?