Finding ideas in a developing market

I’ve spent many years running innovation projects in developed markets, so I’m all too familiar with the need to look outside for innovation inspiration. It’s great thrusting yourself into a different culture especially an emerging or developing market to pick up new ideas, you see them everywhere especially when you are fresh off the boat and starry eyed.

Here are a few I’ve spotted while I’m over here:

1. CHOOSE YOUR OWN BBQ
Of course everyone in the developed world is obsessed with veganism and meat free Monday’s, and quite rightly, but if you are eating meat still (and it was only the other year that the American BBQ trend was in full swing) then at the very least you want some transparency. I came across a place near work here that while not as cool looking as a UK fresh fast food outlet, had an interesting idea – pick your own meat for the BBQ. The meat was in a fridge much as you get at the grocers, but you could pick what you wanted and how you wanted it done. I imagine this as an expanded concept for supermarkets that already have a rotisserie, maybe something you could do front of store a kind of ‘farmers market’ meets BBQ grill concept.

2. THE REFILL MAN
There are people on the streets here who trundle around the residential streets with a cart filling re-used plastic bottles with cleaning fluids of your choice, for anyone who hasn’t been here – cleaning is a national pass-time so its a good business to be in. I wonder if there is something in this idea for us – maybe a ‘top up van’ like the fish van which used to stop on the green near my home in Wivenhoe, you bring your empties and get a top up of what you need commodity wise.

3. SCRUBBING
We are in a clean eating and cleansing phase in developed markets whether its cleaning your house, pairing down on stuff or eating only fresh food. So I think that the Moroccan ritual of scrubbing could become popular if introduced elsewhere. Why? Well if you scrub everyday as I do now with a glove, to get rid of old skin you genuinely feel cleaner than you ever have, smooth and you look better (especially if you then apply Bio Argan oil before bed). Surely it’s time for personal care brands to own the ultra clean beauty routine.

4. MINIMISING WATER USE
Rather than filling a bowl up with water here to do the dishes, they have a small pot next to the sink with warm water, washing up liquid and a sponge. So you sponge down your dishes and rinse them briefly in cold water saving washing up liquid and water. My friend Lila told me when she visits her family in Algeria they ask her why she doesn’t take her toothbrush to the shower – they make use of every drop of water!

5. FRESH TEA
Why do we drink dry tea? Its so much tastier and better for the health to add in fresh herbs, some of my favourites are thyme and rosemary, in addition or instead of mint and all with a base of healthy green tea. Thyme in particular is said to have many health benefits including being really good for a delicate tummy.

If you’re interested, I’m working with a local luxury travel provider here to offer ‘creative camps’ for companies interested in inspiring teams by taking them out of the everyday and into a different culture.