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.
Learn more about this year’s shortlisted candidates
CaratLane is India’s largest omni-channel jewellery brand. Founded in 2008 by Mithun Sacheti and Srinivasa Gopalan, its mission has been to democratise jewellery – to make it accessible, affordable and forever wearable.
Mithun Sacheti is a fifth generation jeweller in the family business, Jaipur Gems. He drove the company’s expansion, opening Jaipur Gem’s first store in Chennai. The family business did well, but Mithun wanted to achieve more. He wanted to make beautiful jewellery available to a much wider number of women, observing that tastes and lifestyle preferences were changing, but jewellery was not keeping pace with the times.
Mithun and Srinivasa have, with the creation of CaratLane, effectively re-invented the entire existing jewellery business model. From the design of jewellery, to its creation, right up to the point of sale experience, CaratLane is today renowned for its style, quality and accessibility. CaratLane is also a great innovator and has launched the World’s First ‘3D Virtual Try On Earring App’.
Earlier in the year CaratLane announced that it planned to add 30 more retail stores, from its current 16 stores, based in cities across India.
Follow CaratLane on Twitter: @CaratLane
Soaring costs are making it increasingly difficult for independent London restaurants to break even. For entrepreneurs and former private equity managers, Fraser Duncan and Jerry Goldberg, the allure of serving delicious roasted chickens at a Soho restaurant was initially very compelling.
They founded Clockjack in 2012, but their restaurant costs started to climb astronomically: “We fell off our seats when we saw an 81% increase in our rental,” says Jerry. Clockjack had the foresight to work with online food delivery company Deliveroo from the very start and could see the advantages and growth potential of what was fast becoming a major disruption force in the food services industry.
The two founders took the courageous decision to pivot their entire business from retail to wholesale. They sold the lease on their Soho premises, and instead rented a large kitchen near Monument in the City. “With rental rates a quarter of that for a restaurant, we could see that a kitchen producing roast chickens on rotisseries would yield much higher revenues than a 50-seater restaurant,” adds Fraser. With hungry homeowners, to time poor city workers forming their growing clientele, Clockjack, the Tudor name for a turning spit, is now flourishing.
Follow ClockjackUK on Twitter: @ClockjackUK
Founded in the early 1970s by the Danish government, the company then known as Dansk Naturgas was responsible for the management of oil and gas resources in the waters around Denmark. Eventually Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG) was born, but remained focused on fossil fuel production.
In 2006 DONG made a large diversification into the electricity market and DONG Energy was created. What followed was a bold commitment and a remarkable transformation toward becoming a leader in the renewable energy industry. In 2006, coal power made up 60% of DONG’s energy mix.
Fast forward nine years to 2015 and this figure had dropped to 29%, while offshore wind power had risen from 6% to 39% over the same period. DONG declared a “vision to lead the energy transformation” and a mission to develop “energy systems that are green independent and economically viable.” Unlike some examples in the industry, DONG walked the talk. Last year, three-quarters of their total capital employed was within their wind power business segment, up from just 29% in 2011.
Follow DONG Energy on Twitter: @DONGEnergy
Foursquare launched in 2009 as a social gaming mobile app which incorporated location sharing, check-ins and gamification. Five years later, the company split the app into two—Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm—to satisfy two groups of users: those who loved discovering new places and those who wanted to lifelog.
Additionally, recognizing that the company could not scale revenue quickly via a local or in-app sales effort, Foursquare launched several enterprise and advertising products based on location intelligence. Foursquare’s Places API powers location data for Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Twitter, Uber, Airbnb and 100,000 other developers. Foursquare’s business solutions also include Pinpoint, Attribution, Pilgrim SDK and Foursquare Analytics, which empower brands to understand and connect to targeted audiences as well as measure foot traffic and advertising success.
Today, Foursquare’s apps continue to provide insights and personalised recommendations of places to go, all based on location technology. Foursquare raised a further $45m in funding in early 2016, and restructured its executive team for growth and expansion under CEO Jeff Glueck. In early 2017, the company announced that revenue had grown 74% year-over-year.
Follow Foursquare on Twitter: @Foursquare
Since its founding in 1888, the National Geographic Society has invested in bold people and transformative ideas, awarding almost 13,000 grants for science, exploration and storytelling. These grants were largely funded by revenue from the iconic magazine and National Geographic Channel. In recent years, the digital revolution threatened this business model, as print sales declined and cable faced competition from streaming services.
In 2015, guided by President and CEO Gary E. Knell, the Society entered a new non-profit revenue model by creating National Geographic Partners, a joint venture with 21st Century Fox (21CF) that would oversee National Geographic media.
This provided National Geographic media with increased access to 21CF resources while bolstering the non-profit Society with a $1.2 billion endowment and a revenue stream from its share in National Geographic Partners.
Today, the Society is doubling down on its core mission, investing in a focused, international grants program and reaching new generations with robust educational programs.
Follow National Geographic Society on Twitter: @NatGeo