‘We think that innovation and creativity are risky, yet we constantly repeat and reinforce existing business models in the face of ever increasing change. Einstein suggested that was insanity’ Jeffrey Phillips (Author and Innovation consultant) 

At this time of the year, if and when we get the chance to gasp at a little filtered Christmas-free air, we often find ourselves looking back on the achievements of the year. What we set out to accomplish vs. what we have fulfilled and how much has inevitably rolled over.

Sometimes we feel a high level of satisfaction in what we’ve achieved, maybe we tried something new, or did something different and we strive to perform to an even higher level next year but all too frequently, year after year we feel discontented at the fact we did not accomplish our intentions, we lost focus on priorities or found an action too challenging or lacklustre so we accepted defeat, and life and/or business didn’t really improve, because we did everything the same way, again. Insanity over Innovation.

Significant discoverers or quiet achievers can both make a big impact on a business yet uncovering these new ways to do something is not always encouraged. Why waste time modifying a perfectly acceptable and proven business model when you could be far more productive making sure everything runs as normal? A work environment that lacks an Innovative culture is much more damaging than any time wasters.

It’s not like you must become the next Alexander Graham Bell, unlike Inventors, Innovators take an existing idea, strategy, system, product, well basically anything and look to improve and develop it, instead of just accepting it.  Take for example the invention of the telephone, if there were no innovators in this world the telecoms industry would be a much smaller place.  Innovators are crucial beings and not to be taken for granted, and smart businesses know it is vital to encourage innovation as a core competency at every level.

Where to start? Here are some Innovation opportunities for businesses in 2018

Customer-First Service

With a significant CRM focus for most businesses over the last few years, this is bound to be an area crying out for innovation as many companies start to focus on their customers and the type of relationships they have with them. Last year businesses used Big Data and omnichannels to tap into their consumer’s behaviours and target their marketing and products AT the customer. Next year sees a new CRM innovation; ‘Customer-first’ where the consumer becomes an integral part of research, development and marketing. A two-way recognition process and a method where sales are secondary and the customer’s needs and wants are put before the business goals.

A Sharing Economy

One of the principles of early childhood is being taught to share; it will allow us to make and retain our first friendships, yet somewhere along the line from Child to Adult we forget this vital life skill in business. A new surge in sharing is upon us with more and more companies using this simple principle within an innovative business model; Introduction. Identifying what consumers want and introducing them to a shared supply-identifying a shared supply and introducing it to a potential customer. Win-Win. And the clever bit the company doesn’t have to own either its consumer or supply, just the environment for introduction. Sharing isn’t for everyone, there is forced social interaction and it involves less privacy but the results are more personalized, which can lead to further innovation that otherwise may never have seen the light of day.

Money stretchers

Wealth, assets, Capital, fortune, the route of all evil or the way to happiness, Money is an important factor in all consumers lives. Saving it is even more important. Therefore, where better to innovate ideas and capture the attention of the potential customers. Whether it’s having a ‘micro-economy’ product or service which allows an underprivileged market to now buy into a small yet nonetheless still a ‘piece’ of the action. A ‘Forgiveness’ service that allows consumers to travel back up to two weeks in time and switch the credit or debit card they used in a particular transaction (Curve).  An app that tells you when your wishlist item is available to buy at a discounted price from any stockist (Finery) or a financial service that monitors your spending and automatically moves small amounts of money to a savings account whenever it sees the chance, (Plum or Digit). These are all recent money stretcher innovations and the potential is endless.

Innovators are the George Baileys of this world post guardian angel, they see what life could be like without them and go on feeling enthused to do more. They are not a new breed of person, they have walked amongst us for many centuries, it’s because of them ‘mod cons’ stay ‘mod’, it’s because of them we can achieve the maximum productivity levels with minimum wasted effort. It’s because of them businesses thrive but they need an environment to do this.  So, make only one new year’s resolution in 2018; Encourage Innovation.



The best way to predict the future is to invent it – Alan Kay

Recently ROCCO Research Launched “The Innovators” the only major research initiative to understand which Roaming and Interconnect Vendors are Innovating our market for the better, according to the views of the MNO community they support. In this years survey we also invite MNOs to put ideas forward for the industry.

Click here to take the survey: The Innovators 2018

About this Research Project and the survey

Over the last 4 years ROCCO has had a simple goal, to study where we are today within the Roaming and Interconnect Industry and to try and support its future development. As the MNO and Vendor communities know too well, technology is developing at an incredible pace (5G, IoT, eSIM) and yet still some of the ways which we deliver these technologies are extremely costly, inefficient and even harmful to the future success of the industry (Roaming Bill Shock, Communication alternatives).

Innovation is important since in the world of Roaming and Interconnect nothing these days is simple. New challenges are constantly coming through. Vendors who create efficiencies, optimise processes and seek evolutionary solutions to some of these challenges need to be encouraged. Help us to uncover who these companies are.

Last year we published a really different kind of Survey for MNOs called The Innovators. In the survey we asked MNOs to rate Vendors on 18 KPI measures of Innovation. Last year, the results were pretty interesting, because we realised any company big or small can be an Innovator.

Do you have an idea for the telecoms Roaming and Interconnect Sector?

In this years research we will be presenting MNOs with over 180 Vendors they can rate against the 18 KPIs but we will also be asking for innovation ideas from MNOs. The MNO with the best idea according to a panel of judges will win the latest Apple Watch 3. The survey can take as little as 4 minutes to complete and gives MNOs real insights into Vendors R&D productivity.

We will run the survey until the end of January and then produce the reports, one special report for the MNOs who rate their vendors in the research and a second we will sell at a discounted rate to anyone who may be interested to compare the vendors on how well they Innovate. We will publish a list of the top ten vendors for innovation as voted by MNOs.

We will also publish a list of all the MNOs ideas and the winning idea.

In addition, we will also interview vendors from the top 10 on a new Radio programme from ROCCO RADIO called Eureka! As well as the person with the best MNO idea. The interviews will be about how the vendors get ideas, how they take action on them and how they create a culture of Innovation in their companies.

This is what ROCCO is doing to stimulate Innovation in the industry. Now tell us what you think ;)