Incumbent firms always struggle with disruptive rivals because they don’t want to cannibalise their existing offerings or they are unable to rethink their existing way of working.
This award is for the organisation that most successfully reinvented itself when faced with a major challenge to its previously-successful business model.
Innovation has always been fundamental to the success of Bayer, one of the world’s largest life science companies. But with important changes underway in healthcare and agriculture, as well as broader trends in digital disruption, the company recognised that innovation driven by the traditional research and development process alone would not be sufficient.
So, in 2016 Monika Lessl, Head of Innovation Strategy, formulated a systemic approach to make innovation the responsibility of all employees, focusing on four pillars: Inspire, Learn, Collaborate, and Connect. By early 2018, the innovation programme had real momentum – nearly 1,000 people had some sort of formal role to support innovation; more than 5,000 had been involved in innovation training; and more than 35,000 were connected through the online innovation portal, YOUniverse.
At the heart of this transformation is a novel organising model, an ‘agile network’ of 80 innovation ambassadors and more than 700 coaches who are pushing the company’s innovation agenda, while also continuing to do their traditional jobs within the hierarchical structure. While getting this network started took a lot of effort, there is now a waiting list of people seeking to join this community.
With the ‘backbone’ of the innovation programme completed, Bayer is now moving to Phase Two. This means making the framework sustainable, further developing innovation capabilities and expanding the innovation network to an entire ecosystem – while not losing sight of the business impact and the need to showcase the truly impressive results the programme is generating.
The story of Benivo is really one of resilience, self-awareness and – above all – the courage to be agile. Benivo provides relocation services to employees of large corporates, easing their transition to a new job in a new country through help on all matters to do with relocation. But it didn’t start out that way.
Founder Nitzan Yudan’s original idea was a sub-letting service for people looking for flats they knew could be trusted. Unfortunately, the start-up ran into problems and Yudan was faced with hard choices. This was the point where many entrepreneurs fail because they are so emotionally attached to their creation that they are unable to modify it – or change it completely – in favour of a new model.
But Yudan had the courage to “kill his darling” and think again. On the way, he developed a new approach to validate business ideas - Sell-Solve-Scale (an ultra lean-startup approach, that starts with a paying client even before the minimum viable product has been established), and managed to sign Google on a paid pilot with the “ugliest-page-in-the-history-of-internet-pages”. Yudan reinvented his business model entirely to enter a new market, eventually winning more than 50 clients including Google, PwC, Verizon, Vodafone and Bloomberg, and growing the company to 70 employees.
Follow Benivo on Twitter: @benivohq
On the face of it, Italian energy giant Enel seems an unlikely candidate for the Masters of Reinvention Award. A world-leading integrated electricity and gas operator, it works in 34 countries across five continents, generating energy with a managed capacity of more than 88 GW, selling gas and distributing electricity across a network spanning almost 2.2 million km. With almost 72 million end users, it is one of Europe’s leading energy companies by installed capacity and reported EBITDA.
But when you stop to consider that almost half that energy is produced with zero carbon dioxide emission through its renewables arm, Enel Green Power,you realise just how far the formerly state-owned company has come since privatisation in 1999. It was alsothe world’s first company to replace traditional meters with smart meters – innovation critical to the development of intelligent grids, smart cities and electric transport – making Enel a pioneer that’s driving radical change throughout the global energy sector. Reinvention, indeed.
Follow Enel on Twitter: @EnelGroup
Founded in 1889 as a playing card company, Nintendo is now a games console giant. The Japanese organisation enjoyed great success when launching the Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe in 1986. But over the following years, an increase in competition within the traditional gaming audience affected Nintendos market share.
In response to this, Nintendo set out to do things differently. It launched the Game Boy – providing gaming on the go – and captured a brand new audience with the innovation of the Nintendo Wii. This was an entirely new value proposition that appealed to all members of the family. A radical reinvention that attracted an entirely new demographic of non-gamers, while still appealing to the existing consumer base.
While others focused on price and developing technology to maximise revenues in the short term, Nintendo focused on a strategy of innovation. Though the Wii U, a new-generation gaming system did not meet expectations, Nintendo went on to launch its most innovative product to date; one which has set the company on a course to success that far exceeds its competitors. The Nintendo Switch – a console that can be played anywhere – has proved a commercial success, by giving gamers the freedom to play any way they choose.
Nintendo wants to build on this success with Nintendo Labo, a new product where gamers can build cardboard accessories, such as a steering wheel or joystick that works with the Switch, enabling users to create toys known as Toy-Con. Once again, this welcomes a new demographic of families and non-gamers through a unique process of making, playing and discovering together.
Follow Nintendo on Twitter: @NintendoUK
Founded in 2000 in Ukraine as an oil-trading business, WOG had grown to 500 gas stations by 2012 with 96% of its sales coming from fuel. But the 2014-15 recession and the devaluation of the Ukrainian currency created massive problems for the company. Having to import its fuel, it was no longer able to compete with vertically integrated rivals who had their own supply of fuel and profitability dived. So, under a new team led by Sergii Koretskyi from 2013, the company shifted its focus to retail; its aim to become a one-stop shop for fuel, food and coffee.
Focusing on exceptional customer service, in 2016 it made another strategic shift to become a vertically integrated food and drink company, with its own products, standalone convenience stores and coffee shops out of the petrol station network (airports, railway stations etc.) Today, WOG is almost unrecognisable from its oil-trading origins: 70% of customers are individual consumers (versus 45% in 2013) and 25% of revenues are non-fuel (versus 4% in 2013). Moreover, its customer base has risen from 200,000 to 580,000 and its market share has gone from 8% to 18% – a case, perhaps, of reincarnation as much as reinvention.
Follow WOG on Twitter: @azsWOG