Yesterday marked the climax of our iQnite case competition on climate change at inQvation. 5 teams pitched their ideas for solutions in front of a very experienced and competetent panel.
All the teams did a great job, and in the end Kleen Hub ran away with it. I will now get the opportunity to help them grow their circular concept within fast food packaging over the coming months. It is a really great team with an equally great idea, and I can’t wait to get started.
It has been an amazing experience to start from scratch with no more than a vague idea and then finish off with being able to crown a winner. We have learned a lot from it – the good and the not so good – and we will spend the coming weeks reflecting and documenting our learnings, so we can hopefully return with a new edition of the iQnite case competition at some later point.
Last Friday and Saturday we hosted the first bootcamp of the iQnite case competition on climate change at our inQvation-hub in Taastrup. 35 participants turned up to spend two days exploring and sharpening their idea in the hope of making it into the main competition.
For me as an organizer it was an amazing event. When you do something like this for the first time, you are always a bit nervous how things are going to turn out. How many people will sign up? What will their profiles be? What are their ideas about? And how many will actually show up and do the work?
We had set ourselves a goal of getting 8-10 great teams or projects into the main competition. We ended up with 9, which is super. They are very diverse both in focus, industry, background, experience and so on, and it is truly a great experience to get to work with such a great bunch of people looking to drive change.
Yesterday, the company I chose to deliver fiber to my home made their best effort to loose me as a customer. Due to unfortunate circumstances I narrowly missed a visit by a technician, and when I called them to figure out what went wrong, the customer support was rude and hung up on me.
Companies behaving that way may have a good or even great product. But they have a shitty customer experience. And in a day and age where basically everybody can do anything, the true differentiator between winning and losing as a business with the customer is precisely what happened to me: A shitty customer experience.
Whether you are in a corporate or getting your own startup off the ground you should aim to lead by experience; be the most open, accommodating, empathetic and what have you. Because even if I as a customer come to you with a problem, I will remember you cared – and I will our relationship an extra shot.
What does it mean to have something of real economic value that customers want? Is it to have the best product within a category worth an extra charge, or is it to have a product that sits so well with the belief system of the customer that they are willing to pay a premium price for?
Luckily, it seems to be the latter. And it is great for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it vindicates those who strive for domination within a niche by building run-of-the-mill products that are just cheaper for customers to buy. Personally, I have never been a big fan of competiting on price because I don’t fance the end game; essentially free offerings. Second, I find it reassuring that despite everything else that is going on, customers are still looking to pay decent money for offerings that fits well with their personal belief system(s). This should be a welcome call-to-arms for everybody working on making customers better off.