Photo Credit: Dockwa

Are you one of those employees in the company who is always looking for a new way of doing things? You know, are you always looking in unexpected places to explore for new discoveries? When companies other than the one you work for create innovative products and services, do you become jealous, like you’re missing out on something? If this is you, chances are you’re probably never satisfied with the business status quo because it makes your toes curl, teeth clench and hot air comes out your ears. You think different and want change. Okay, I have to admit, I am one of those people. I prefer to look ahead, not behind. I am forever thinking about the “what if?” I want to try something new to see if the company I work for can use the idea to become even better. I want to create a new sense of “wow” with our process and our customers. That’s just me. Are you one of those people too? If so, read on. You just may learn a new way to look for innovation and when you find it, adopt it for your company.


What Problems Do You Need To Solve?

Before you begin looking for innovation or even trying to be more innovative, think about what potential breakdowns or problems your company is currently having. You don’t need to perform brain surgery, just think about this from a high level. When you have an idea of what this could be and where, it will help you define and create a potential solution. Write down a few reasons of what the current problems are.


Back To The Basics – Drawing

Before today’s modern media, early man communicated on other forms of media like rocks and stones, trees and in sand. The use of drawing and imagery has proven to be highly effective in communicating the simple to the complex, and that still holds true today. Studies have shown that pictures and drawings are more effective than text because our brain translates imagery 60,000 times faster than words. It’s no wonder Infographics and photos are so popular.


Find Innovation And Look At What Other Companies Are Doing

One of the fun things that I like to do is to explore what other companies are doing with their business. I like to take a look at businesses that are not in the same industry that I work in. I do this because it provides me with fresh ideas that most likely have not been tried yet in the industry I work in for my job. This can be exciting because all you need to do is go online or onto the app store and take a look at all the apps that are available. Within minutes you will see something that stimulates your interest.

There are companies that have revolutionized the way consumers connect, and convert. We want to leverage the power of innovation and technology that companies have already spent lots of time and money on and make it work for our own innovation seeking process. There’s no reason to recreate the wheel when there are thousands of technology-based (apps and companies) right at our fingertips. Nearly every one can be used as a reference so we can begin to create our own innovation model research. Let’s get started.




Here’s an amazing example of how technology when used outside the box can be disruptive in a market     and industry that needs change. If you haven’t seen this app yet and you’re a boater, you must check it       out. I see the innovation aspects of this app to be the connective tissue between boats, captains and             owners and marinas. The current problem is that boaters can’t always get slips at marinas very easily.         You would think this problem was already solved in an industry laden with money. Dockwa helps to           solve  this problem. It also creates a communication channel that is always in the palm of the hands of       customers. I had a recent conversation with Matt Fradette, Co-founder & CRO of Dockwa. We talked           about the yachting industry and the need for never before seen services using today’s technology. “It’s a   convenient and easy way for boaters to search, reserve, and pay for transient dockage,”   says Fradette.


Dockwa is disruptive because it is the first true services marketplace that has existed in the marine industry. Allowing both supply and demand to be aggregated for boaters and marinas. Ultimately resulting in a convenient resource for boaters to search, reserve, and pay for reservations and a powerful network and software for marinas to manage their business in a way that was never possible before.” – Matt Fradette, Dockwa  


Here’s the Dockwa business model shown above. Now it’s your turn to dissect the business model and see if there is innovation that is helpful to your company in the simple line drawing form – so break out the black marker and start drawing. Don’t forget, do your research on companies first and make sure you find a business idea that can potentially adapt to your existing business model. What may appear to be way off base may in fact integrate seamlessly with a little creative thinking. However, it takes more than just thinking about it. What I like to do is go to a whiteboard and actually draw the business model and how it works. This one below is actually drawn from Matt Fradette from Dockwa.


Think about these 5 things when you are drawing. Keep in mind you will want to explain these in your drawing. 

  • The overview of what the company / app is doing
  • How does it connect and interact with the customer?
  • How does the transaction occur?
  • Where are the potential customer pain points?
  • In this phase you will also want to think about: how is the potential customer problem / pain point eliminated?


Because boaters and marinas have historically been disconnected entities in the online world and even more on mobile, Dockwa has solved the problem and eliminated the pain point that occurred when boaters want to find marinas and pertinent information on-the-fly. Dockwa eliminates the need for contacting multiple Marinas via phone calls, separate emails or filling out multiple website forms. Additionally, once the boater was already registered on Dockwa, all critical boater information was already up-to-date and saved so the boater can swiftly reserve and pay with a touch of a button.

Customer frustration and pain… gone.

Now — Draw The Model And Imagine Your Company In The Key Areas

Once you have drawn the business model (in line drawing form or formally like I did above), your next step is to swap out the company with your  company, the customer with your customer, and the customer transaction  with how your company could formulate a transaction. Don’t forget to think about the areas where breakdowns may occur. This may not look right at first. In fact, it may totally look disconnected. That’s the idea. It looks disconnected because you are looking at an innovative model from another business model and you’re trying to make it fit your type of business. It looks foreign. Well, it’s time to figure out a way for your business model to adapt to your drawings. If you have a few people helping you look at your drawings, you will begin to get  some insight from different people. This fresh insight is very important. What I like to do is find several app-based business models and draw them all out  just like I explained above. If you can have 3-5 models drawn out in front of you so that you can see how they all function, you will soon be able to have a better idea of how to create something new and innovative for your company. The cool thing here is, it doesn’t have to be a whole new business model you are looking for, it could be a process for a new product launch, a new way to connect with customers or even a way to use technology more effectively. Good Luck—and have fun!


Related Huffington Post Articles By Scott MacFarland


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Scott MacFarland


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Photo Credit: Dockwa


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