Heading back to the city where I was born, Istanbul, Turkey, I noticed a lot of growth and change have occurred over the last 5 years since I was there. There are a lot more hotels dominating the skyline. I saw a lot of Marriott’s and even drove past the Trump Tower. The billboards are overpowering and the number of English stores has increased substantially. There is also an increase in the tourism industry. At the airport there was also definitely an increase in the diversity of tourists – Qatar, England, Germany, US and a number of former Soviet bloc countries that I noticed in the short time I was at the airport.
That being said, the micro economy is extremely strong. There are a few reasons for the success of micro economies in such a global environment:
- Being great at what they do
- Great customer relationships
- Lowest cost provider
Being great at what they do: A number of the same local restaurants that I recall visiting over the last twenty to thirty years are still there. They are usually the ones that are outstanding at what they do – 4ler an amazing Kebab restaurant, Haci Bekir a candy store that has been around for hundreds of years, Saray a cafe specializing in custards, Inci a shoe store, Zeki a bathing suit store. These are all establishments that have not only survived but have also grown. In the technology sector, these companies would be referred to as best in class or industry leaders. They have fabulous customer services (that will be coming up in a future post) and pay attention to their customer’s needs.
Great customer relationships: Within minutes of being back to the neighborhood my grandparents spent over half a century living in I am greeted by a seamstress who recognizes me almost instantly. The business owners who are reliant on local customers that are still around have taken the time to get to know and remember their customers.
Lowest cost provider: Then there are the markets that travel around the city. The stalls are set up for the day and are located in a different part of the city almost every day of the week. What makes these sellers successful is their ability to provide lower cost products, usually produce, at lower costs than established stores. These products also tend to be fresher than in most stores since they are brought out for that day.
What does all this have to do with innovation? You can still have innovation in micro economies. In fact, there is more room for innovation to occur in micro economies. Whether this is through enhancing or revolutionizing how things are done or adapting ideas from other industries and countries for your current market.
I have brought back a number of ideas on how to improve the businesses I work with. I also can’t stop thinking of how some of the practices we have here could innovate businesses there.
- Innovation Through Client Requirements and Relationships (Spring2Innovation.com)
- Technology NFC and Mobile Wallets in Turkey (Spring2Innovation.com)
- Augmented Reality In Action (Spring2Innovation.com)