I've recently come back from spending some time working in Mexico and the USA and kept my innovation research skills active. There were a number of innovative businesses and ideas I saw in Mexico.
I often talk about adding value to an existing touch point, be it for a process or service. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much extra value was added in various businesses around mexico. One of the most notable 'value adds' was that which was experienced in the gas stations. While in Australia we like to call our petrol stations 'service stations' it's interesting to note how little service there actually is.
In Mexico they really know how to deliver service in their gas stations. Many of the gas stations I experienced had great music playing from speakers across the station. It felt like going to a fiesta versus going to fill up your tank. Every service station had people to fill up your car for you and at least one or two to work on your car for you. I filmed one service station where we had a guy painting on some tyre black paint on the tyres to make them look new, one guy under the hood checking the battery, water level and oil levels, one guy cleaning the windscreen and another attendant filling the tank. It was service to the max.
While it's obvious that labour costs are cheaper in a developing nation, it's still obvious to see the opportunity of adding to the experience of getting fuel in a service station.
I found some other interesting trends, such as having a 'brand new' Volkswagen on display in the service station as part of a fuel lottery. Everyone who buys fuel gets a lottery ticket for a chance to win a car.
While we're on the topic of cars, a road safety trend I found really useful were the use of hazard lights. If a car saw trouble up ahead (say for example a stray dog on the road) they would turn on their hazard lights and every other car behind would do the same. It was a very effective warning to other drivers on the road to watch out. This little technique really increased the safety for some dubious roads.
An innovative thing the police were doing on the roads is rather than look to book everyone on the road on the busy weekend traffic. They saw their job to be highly visible in dangerous areas. To do this they would have their lights flashing and park in a very visible area, as one of the locals explained to me it works to remind people to slow down and drive safe. I've never seen so many police anywhere in the world and their road presence really worked on those heavy traffic days.
What elements can you add value too in your world?