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31 amazing Examples of Innovation

Innovation Examples for your inspiration

Product Innovation Examples

Edible insects

Ynsect is a company working on one of the world’s greatest problems: feeding the global population. At Ynsect, they believe that the answer to this problem is incorporating insects into the human diet. Leaders in coleoculture - the farming of beetles - Ynsect has developed innovative ways of bringing insects to the table. Highly nutritious and environmentally-friendly to produce, insects are believed by many to be the food of the future.

Landing on the dark side of the moon

The world’s first lander and rover on the dark side of the moon is China’s Chang’e-4 Yutu-2. It landed in 2018, and because of its position on the dark, airless side of the moon, it is in an ideal place for scientific applications such as radio astronomy.

Oat milk

Though mainstream now, oat milk started in the 1990s with the Swedish company Oatly, the original oat milk innovators. Today they are present in 20 European and Asian countries. Oatly has created many products from the fiber-rich, planet-and-human-healthy oat: from milk to custards to matcha lattes, they have you covered.

Passenger-carrying drone

The Chinese startup EHang has created the world’s first passenger-carrying drone, an eco-friendly mode of transportation for short and medium-length journeys. It uses autonomous flight technology, meaning that the passengers do not have to worry about controlling the aircraft themselves. The drone can also land anywhere, making it suitable for urban transportation.

Wrinkle-free suits

The Ludlow Traveler Suit from J Crew is a simple product designed to solve a simple problem: it is a suit that remains wrinkle-free throughout your travels, allowing the wearer to travel from the plane, the train, or the bus straight to a meeting without changing. The suit is made from Italian three-ply wool, and has received raving reviews in GQ.

VR/AR

Holoxica is a Scottish VR/AR company that makes Star Wars style hologram technology most often used for medical purposes. The first company to make truly 3D technology, Holoxica aims to end the “Zoom fatigue” we experience every day by communicating primarily in 2D.

Business Model Innovation Examples

From a single purchase to a subscription model

Microsoft Office 365 transformed its services from a one-off purchase to a subscription model, thereby collecting more revenue over the long-term.

Why do Subscription Business Models Work?

From a single purchase to a rental model

Rolls Royce transformed their airplane engine sales from a single-purchase to a rental model. This allows Rolls Royce to access lower income airlines, who couldn’t afford to buy their engines previously.

The leading fast fashion business model

Fast fashion brand Zara has a highly-innovative business model for the fashion industry. They have a vertically-integrated supply chain, which makes them highly flexible and agile, allowing them to quickly capitalize on market trends. They also undergo very little traditional marketing, instead setting up shop directly beside the high fashion stores they mimic to ascertain their relevance.

Transforming the video industry business model

Netflix took over the video rental industry in 1997 as a DVD-rental and delivery service. They didn’t need to pay the same massive operating fees as Blockbuster, because they had no bricks and mortar stores. The company disrupted the video industry further with their streaming launched in 2007, making DVDs functionally irrelevant.

How does Netflix' business model work?

Green Innovation Examples

A city covered in plants

The world's first forest city is in Liuzhou, China, a highly-polluted region that houses 30,000 inhabitants. Every building in the city is covered in plants, and it will eventually be home to 40,000 trees and one million plants. A CO2-absorbing and oxygen-producing machine, the forest city was designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti to combat the intense smog of the Guangxi province.

A garbage net for the ocean

The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit working to remove plastic from the ocean and recycle it into useful products. They use passive ocean technology that moves with the currents to pick up plastic in an energy-efficient manner. Founded in 2013, The Ocean Cleanup aims to rid the ocean of 90% of legacy plastic - plastic found on the surface of the water - by 2040.

The Smog Free Tower in Rotterdam

A pollution vacuum

The Smog Free Tower is a giant pollution vacuum that cleans 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour, and uses the smog collected to create the Smog Free Ring. The innovating organization, Studio Roosegaarde, has more recently created the Smog Free Bicycle, a bike that sucks up dirty air and uses the power exerted by the rider to transform it into clean air for them to breathe.

An artificial sun

The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak is the world’s first artificial sun, and a potentially-revolutionary green energy source.

An industrial-scale solar panel

State-owned organization CEPEP in China has created the world's biggest floating solar plant in Anhui Province. Finished in 2018, the solar plant covers 140 hectares of ocean, and is set to power 21,000 households per year with electricity.

Edible cutlery

Bakeys, a company started by Narayana Peesapaty, invented edible cutlery made from dough wheat, jowar, and rice powder. Rich in nutrients and fully-functioning as cutlery, the idea with the cutlery is to simultaneously support jowar growers and reduce plastic cutlery waste.

Check out the Microlino Prototype

Electric bubble cars

The Microlino is a small electric bubble car that uses 65% less energy to transport its drivers, 60% less energy to produce, and 50% fewer parts than conventional cars. It was created by Micro Mobility Systems, a Swiss company that makes low-carbon cars and scooters for city-dwellers. The scooter equivalent to the Microlino is the Microletta, created with the same principles in mind.

Plants from pencils

Sprout Pencil is an international company making pencils that you can plant after use and watch grow into a number of different herbs and flowers.

Saving odd fruit from the garbage

Oddbox is a London-based company that rescues weirdly-shaped produce from the farms that cannot sell such produce to grocery stores. They then sell this odd produce in boxes as a subscription service to Londoners.

Waste incineration

The award-winning Shenzhen East Waste To Energy Plant in China can incinerate 5,000 tonnes of waste every day, and produce 550 million kWh of energy every year.

Open Innovation Examples

Open digital innovation

Samsung is one of the largest companies renowned for using open innovation to create new products. They use a 4-pronged approach, collaborating with top universities, overseas research centers, suppliers, and global consortiums.

Open-source DNA coding

The United Genomes Project is an excellent example of open innovation used in the medical field. It is an open source genetic database in Africa. The idea, developed by Geoffrey Siwo, is that different medical innovations react differently to different DNA, and the open source information allows medical professionals to create more specialized products.

Customer innovation at Lego

Legendary open innovator, Lego uses its Lego Ideas and Creator 3-in-1 platforms to bring customers exactly the Lego packages they want. Lego will also let you build your own game, or submit a product idea.

Teaching hard skills

General Assembly is an online and on-campus school that uses open innovation to deliver programs dedicated to bringing real-life work learnings to individuals by creating a community and transforming their offering to teach students the most relevant skills of today. They also connect young professionals to companies looking to hire.

Messaging with personal bots and stickers

Telegram is a platform that allows individuals to message each other and create their own bots and stickers to use when communicating. This enhances the user experience by making it more creative.

Digital Innovation Examples

A platform to protect musicians’ rights

Amuse is a Swedish digital platform working to fix the music industry by distributing music from their artists for free to all major streaming services while simultaneously protecting their rights, ensuring that they receive 100% of their royalties and masters.

A platform for travel-lovers

Culture Trip is a travel company that posts tons of content about the best experiences all over the world, with a focus on helping travelers discover authentic cultural spots. They send their employees all over the world to discover and write about the best travel experiences, meaning that their advice can be taken to heart.

Software to help fashion companies match supply with demand

Unmade is a global Saas company that helps sportswear brands create custom clothing for their customers. By ensuring that supply directly matches up with demand, Unmade can help transform the fashion industry by adding value to every garment and minimizing waste.

A platform to evaluate code

HackerEarth is an Indian company founded in 2012, and it allows IT companies to connect with and evaluate talent by automatically evaluating the code they create. This allows tech companies to hire more quickly and without biases. HackerEarth is used primarily in India and the US.

An exclusive travel platform for women

Women have long struggled to travel solo safely, and Golightly is the first company to develop a digital solution to the problem. Essentially AirBnb exclusively for women, Golightly ensures that women can travel safely and enjoyably.

The gym from home

Now famous after its takeoff during the pandemic, Peloton is a subscription-based at-home boutique fitness innovation. The pre-recorded workouts and equipment combine the social aspects of in-person fitness classes with the convenience of working out from home. Peloton has been dubbed by The Independent as “the future of fitness.”