Last Saturday, I had to travel to a remote part of Cochin for personal reasons. It took me a while, but I managed to get a bus and reach a location that was 3 km away from where I wanted to go. So I walked the rest of the way and made it in less than 30 minutes. Two hours later, as I was getting ready to leave, I received an emergency call from a friend that required me to travel back to the city, ASAP!

I did not have any cash in hand and being in a remote location, there weren’t any ATM’S around and neither could I find an ‘auto.’ But I wasn’t worried about my trip back or the lack of physical currency. I pulled out my phone and clicked on the Uber app (which was also connected to my Paytm account).

It took another 20 minutes, but the driver showed up at my location, drove me to my destination, while my Paytm balance took care of the bill amount.

I can honestly say things wouldn't have been so smooth (or none of this was possible in Cochin) about 4 or 5 years ago. But what we have today are the result of various passionate individuals seeking to make people's lives easier, by delivering value through innovation.

They have been successful at this, by refocussing their business models on;

  • How business is being transacted.
  • How businesses are collaborating with each other to ensure sustainability.
  • How business is being made accessible to customers.
  • How businesses are collaborating with each other for better customer experience

"If the point of business is to provide something of ‘value’ to the society, it is part of, and in return get paid for what it is providing.

The point of digital innovation is the use of technological means in delivering that ‘value,’ with the goal of streamlining the quality of human convenience."

Looking Ahead

I like to conclude by talking about the professional social network, Bebee. I believe this will be the foremost example of digital innovation rewriting business models, in the near future.

By mid of 2018, it will be the first social network to adopt the blockchain technology and crypto-currency within the network. They aim to provide a decentralized network (just as a blockchain system) where users have complete control over their data and content. Which means if a third-party user needs to access a Bebee user's content or data, the third-party will have to pay the user (as per the price set by him/her) using (Profede) crypto-currencies.

Pros:

  • Considering the recent Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, where concerns about ‘user-data privacy’ issues were the focus of the scandal, a decentralized system may be a step towards the right direction
  • With the increase in dependency on social media (especially for selling and marketing), this will be a highlight feature to be replicated by several existing and new social media platforms

Cons:

  • Considering the amount of content that is being produced on a daily basis, this business model could be also replicated to prevent 'free access' to content or information that is available presently to general internet users all over the world.
  • This business model can further be applied to search engine results, where a user will have to pay to access any and all result links which are currently free.

While digital innovation has improved in making people's easier, it's continued evolution shouldn't come at the expense of digital freedom.