Have you ever been in a helicopter in the sky and seen a rainbow? You are looking down on the rainbow and can see a full circle rainbow, rather than the half arch we see from our ground perspective. It is the same rainbow but we can only see half of it from the ground.
Being able to see the full picture in innovation can allow your organization to innovate more. It can help connect things you wouldn’t have thought to connect. By stepping back from your business and industry or bringing folks in from outside of your business and industry there are things you may see that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Starbucks has done a good job of this with their mobile payment system. They were able to see how popular and lucrative mobile payment systems are going to be and are able to bring it into their system to test out. It also makes it easier for their customers to spend money at their stores – a major competitive advantage. Eventually they may be able to roll out to other companies. It appears that they are now dabbling with advertising. In order to log onto Starbucks ‘free wifi’ users will be previewing an advertisement from one of their sponsors before getting access. Because of their ability to see beyond their business they’re bringing in more revenue through different business models.
Another example of companies looking at themselves from the outside in is Amazon who turned their online bookstore knowledge data facilities into a Cloud System empire. They originally started their cloud computing system to handle to data and peaks in access to their site and soon found themselves being knowledgeable enough to sell their cloud services.
Take the time to look at your organization from the outside to see what skills you have and see what areas are a natural fit for your organization to expand into. There is always room for experimenting and if it doesn’t work then move onto the next innovation.