Dr. Schwartz initiated innovation by catalyzing cooperation in an area where such a practice was nonexistent. Known for his term “collaborative action”, Dr. Schwartz began his innovative career simply by bringing people together. While it may sound like a small idea, he capitalized on the fact that an innovation is an innovation no matter how large or small (Anthony, 2008). Even more so, this idea had large implications and was easily disseminated. Collaborative action allowed people of different disciplines to come together and work on one single problem. As a result, each person brought diverse concepts to the table, which created new, well-rounded ideas, and the ability to confront previously challenging notions (Isaacson, n.d.).
Collaborative action challenged the way businesses around the world performed, and Dr. Schwartz attributes this disruptive innovation to simply asking questions. He explained that people fall into mundane, “fundamental” habits, yet just because they are “vital” does not mean they should go unquestioned. Collaborative action examined the manner in which people worked, specifically in materials research, and developed a new, more efficient way to do so (Costa & Kallick, 2008). In this way, Dr. Schwartz created a new-market foothold (Christensen, 2015).
Dr. Schwartz gave an example of collaboration between the automotive industry and government where the two jointly developed standards and regulations for vehicles. Prior to this, the government simply dictated what the manufacturers needed to achieve and left them to fend for themselves. By employing collaborative action, the two parties were able to achieve their respective goals and at a much faster rate. This benefit became value added to the consumer as well, since products were better constructed and cheaper.
What was interesting, however, was that Dr. Schwartz did not have a traditional business model. He did not define a customer value proposition, profit formula, key resources, and key ideas in a quantitative sense (Johnson et al., 2008). His approach was more qualitative. Dr. Schwartz took his innovation and approached people he thought could benefit from it (Onyemah, 2013). In his eyes, it was all about teamwork and making a difference. Dr. Richard Berman also demonstrated this “model’s” effectiveness when he spoke to our class. While Dr. Schwartz did not measure his success by smiles, he did find his success in collaboration.
Nonetheless, Dr. Schwartz conveyed that a considerable amount of planning, research, and organization went into the creation and implementation of his idea. For this reason, I would argue that his success would not have come to fruition had he not taken the time to understand the market, envision the future, and draw upon previous knowledge (Costa & Kallick, 2008). Moreover, he illustrated a point that Christensen (2015) covered: one needs to recognize disruption is a process. Peoples’ minds are always changing, and it is necessary to research and plan for that.
Dr. Schwartz was just that, a planner. When it came to refining his ideas, he broke down his end goal into smaller, more manageable tasks and ideas (Byrne, 2009). This was crucial as his ultimate goal of inducing industry change was quite complex. It required the collaboration of countless teams and individuals in a manner never done before. Thus by lending more attention to smaller aspects, Dr. Schwartz was able to fortify them to withstand the weight of the ultimate goal. This attention and subsequent fortification was guided by extensive research on what the customer wanted. He learned this was crucial to success.
This same concept helped him develop an implementation plan as well. Dr. Schwartz applied what he learned through research to anticipate problems that may undermine success. Moreover, he always kept the ultimate goal in mind by continually asking himself what needed to be done to get where he wanted to be (Byrne, 2009). As Dr. Berman would say, Dr. Schwartz had a sense of purpose, and he used that end goal to drive his daily actions (Thrash et al, 2016). He was indeed an innovative leader.
Taking into consideration everything my group and I learned throughout the semester, we generated two innovative ideas to address Triadex’s carbon footprint issue from a marketing standpoint. Greg Mesaros, the company’s CEO, made it clear that Triadex wished to be environmentally responsible, despite producing harmful products. One of the ways it can do this is by offsetting its impact. Johnson (2013) states that simply revamping a company’s current process can induce disruptive innovation, which is what we wish to do with the “Triadex Cares” campaign. In essence, Triadex would create a three-tiered system where each tier represents a certain size order, with the bottom tier being the lowest monetary amount. Within each tier, customers will be able to choose one local environmental activism effort for Triadex to donate to. For example, a Tampa-based customer places an order for 5,000 mailers, which falls into Triadex’s bottom category. In this category, the customer can choose from several environmental efforts that Triadex will donate to.
This unique idea places social responsibility on the customer and Triadex, which can be a powerful tool in driving change (Onyemah, 2013). Furthermore, it will allow Triadex to establish partnerships with organizations throughout the nation. Not only do partnerships create a good image, but they may also foster new business (Isaacson, n.d.). This was seen when a Seattle-based company specifically chose Triadex for its Triadex Cares program.
In addition, this allows Triadex’s customer to label itself as an environmentally conscious business. This could be done on the mailers themselves by including a blurb stating that a portion of the profits from the mailer went toward local conservational efforts. This may drive new business to that specific company. For example, an individual deciding between restaurants may be more likely to visit the restaurant who’s mailer indicates it is environmentally responsible. It’s simple additions like these that could spark disruptive innovation (Christensen, 2015).
This specific idea improves upon Triadex’s current program because it combats the increased ecological damage that stems from larger orders. It also provides Triadex’s customers with choice, a powerful tool in business, and thus elicits a sense of control (Onyemah, 2013). Furthermore, disruptive innovation transforms existing markets through accessibility, and this effort would increase a customer’s accessibility to large-scale efforts (Anthony, 2008).
The business model would start by establishing partnerships in Triadex’s customers’ cities. Triadex could then launch an action campaign to increase the concept’s awareness to new and existing customers in an effort to drive sales, thus increasing opportunity for value. An increase in business opportunities and fulfillment of Triadex’s eco-friendly goal also captures and delivers value.
The second idea involves partnerships and use of current business models as well, but in a different sense. It’s a known fact to Triadex that companies from the west coast, specifically California, Oregon, and Washington, tend to be more environmentally friendly compared to their regional counterparts. This was exemplified in the previous Seattle-based company example. Furthermore, it possesses the data and means necessary to specialize its products to certain areas and demographics. By creating a “current location” algorithm on its website, Triadex could drive these companies to the eco-friendly options, which may increase their sales.
Triadex also has data to show what age groups are most concentrated in what areas of the nation. If a company visiting the website is from a region saturated with younger individuals, the current location feature could be used to show the business green options, since this demographic is known to be more ecologically aware. Thus, this strategy seeks strategic buyers and adds value to their mission by presenting products tailored to their ideals (Onyemah, 2013).
Lastly, this algorithm could be used to highlight environmentally responsible actions Triadex is taking across the United States. It is our belief that companies who see efforts being performed in their area would be more enticed to use Triadex Services. This would require Triadex to establish regional partnerships, which would certainly benefit the business in the long run.
The business model for this innovative idea is similar to that of the previous idea. It would begin by researching what demographics gravitate toward environmentally friendly options, and what efforts in those cities would partner with Triadex. Triadex would then design and implement the algorithm based on that information. It would also require Triadex’s marketing team to create separate webpages.
This idea is different from what Triadex is presently doing because it takes their current efforts and focuses it on the customer’s home location. Thus, it creates, captures, and delivers value by establishing new, direct efforts catered to the consumer and reduces local environmental impacts that may stem from the dissemination of the mailers (Johnson et al, 2008). It also tailors the eco-friendly options to customers that may be more enticed to purchase them.
All in all, these two ideas encompass disruptive innovation by transforming the established market (Anthony, 2008). Triadex will be implementing convenient and accessible ways for its customers and itself to reduce the damage mailers produce. These ideas will make both parties feel rewarded while also placing responsibility on them. In these times, more companies are attempting to become more ecologically aware, but they don’t have a means to do so. Either option will permit customers to enter this space conveniently, while increasing the customer value proposition (Johnson et al, 2008). It also will not cost Triadex to establish partnerships, thus eliminating negative repercussions.
In addition, it is unlikely that either effort will cause Triadex to overshoot. Overshooting occurs when a business creates a product that is appealing, but one that no one will pay for (Anthony, 2008). Thankfully, these models simply appear as an incentive to choosing Triadex. Customers are not required to pay more to receive either option, which is crucial since insufficient wealth is often a barrier (Johnson et al, 2008). In fact, the tier system may entice customers to place larger orders, so they can make a larger environmental impact. Moreover, the current location algorithm will still allow customers to see the non-recyclable options; they just may not appear first.
Throughout this blueprinting process, Dr. Schwartz made it clear that curiosity is an important quality to possess, especially in the initial phases (Graham-Leviss, 2016). Curiosity enables one to find addressable issues and develop strategies for tackling them. These plans arise through extensive research (Byrne, 2009). Thus, I believe it is imperative for an innovator to thoroughly understand industry. Without this, it is difficult to ignite change. Such expertise also permits one to lead courageously (Graham-Leviss, 2016).
In blueprinting ideas, it’s necessary to embody two habits of mind: thinking interdependently and thinking and communicating with clarity (Costa & Kallick, 2008). Dr. Schwartz’s collaborative action is another way to think interdependently. Many ideas and novel concepts can arise when individuals from different fields collaborate on a single idea (Isaacson, n.d.). It’s necessary to clearly communicate these ideas and their potential to others, as well.
With that said, it’s imperative to keep a strategic business perspective and remain open in the planning stage of blueprinting (Graham-Leviss, 2016). As Dr. Goswami highlighted, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea and forget whether it is actually sellable. A revolutionary idea means nothing if no one will buy it. Thus, having an understanding of the ins and outs of business and being perceptive to feedback is important. This can be achieved by understanding consumer ideals or observing if similar products were successful.
Lastly, it is crucial to build a backup plan into the business model (Graham-Leviss, 2016). Ms. Selina Perez emphasized that P&G has an innovation pipeline to use as a backup plan. If one innovation fails, the company can turn around and release a new product fairly quickly in order to recover from the failure. Moreover, other innovators have stated that they simply took the time to consider what might go wrong and plan for that in advance. This could be done though P&G’s Test & Learn, which asks a small group of potential customers to give feedback on the product or idea.
In order to make these ideas come to fruition, our group needs to acquire customer demographics from Triadex; specifically, where the majority of their customers come from and if any of them are interested in eco-friendly efforts. The former information can be obtained by speaking with Triadex, while the later would require a survey to be done by each company. In conjunction with this, it would be beneficial to find green efforts in Triadex’s customers’ areas. This would allow us to present useful information to them when pitching the idea. It would also be helpful to know if college students are more receptive to Triadex’s green option or the plastic mailer. This can be achieved by posting a Google survey in the USF Honor Roll.