Seth Godin always gets me thinking:
So what if the very authoritarian Chinese government decided to decree what it meant for something to be legally sold as a car?
What if a Chinese car:
--got 40 mpg or more
--with low emissions
--was small enough to fit into a parking space sized x by y (which is a number smaller than, say, a Buick)
--had a built-in transponder to track stolen cars
--had built-in cell phone capability
--had a transmitter that alerted the local authorities whenever you drove faster than the emergency speed limit
--had built-in baby seat anchors
--had brights that automatically dimmed whenever another car approached
--had digital key systems that made it easy to do car sharing
--had insurance paid for with a gas tax
--allowed local roads to 'talk' to the car about upcoming dangers
--had a body that was ugly but easy to repair after an accident
--had a transponder that broadcast when it was stuck in traffic and received inputs on how to avoid existing jams
--had a follow me feature that allowed a car to be set to follow the car ahead (at low speeds) to increase the efficiency of traffic flow
--ten other things I can't think of but you can.
WoW! How would that change the future of China? The definition of a car?
It's just the question I like thinking about; "How can I change the definition of what our companies goods and services are? How can I make us different? Create a new definition for our industry? How can we be the innovators in our industry?"
That's a tough question. And the answer needs the collaboration and support of suppliers, staff and customers. Something that seems extraordinarily tough in the Australian marketplace.
Very few of the suppliers we deal with (and we spend in excess of $200k/annum with some of them) aren't interested in our business, beyond payment of their next invoice. They just want to sell us stuff. They don't seem to want to help us grow, let alone create something new, and rewrite industry definitions. And yes, we do ask, we beg them to look inside our business and help us in our quest to be innovative.
Why not? Cause our market is small, and in many cases dominated by oligopolistic competition (2 big Telco's, 4 Big Banks, 3 airlines, 2 big supermarket chains, 3 big car makers). They are on a good thing. Why change? In our game, our choices in suppliers are limited, we need them more than they need us, and they know it. And so-on up the chain...
But like Seth says, China's advantage is that they are starting from scratch. And they have lot of people. And an authoritarian Government. Watch them still stuff it up!