If your firm strives to be Customer Obsessed then a key focus should be on addressing emerging customer needs and challenges. Sadly, where and how they can live is rising fast as a global concern.
As noted in my new Forrester report on the importance and impact of Moonshot innovations, I mentioned that part of your focus should be on emerging customer needs and issues. One of those issues that is clearly rising across the globe is climate change. As noted last week by David Randall in the Los Angeles Times, the longer, hotter summer weather patterns being experiences in LA, Houston, New York and other cities could bring the Bubonic Plague back to the largest cities in the world. This climate change is extending the breeding season of rats, squirrels and rodents and leading to their significant increase in numbers. According to rodent control consultant Bobby Corrigan, in the last 10 years this has raised their urban population by 15-20 percent.
These animals increase the population of fleas that carry the plague-causing bacterium – Yersinia pestis. More of these fleas can lead to broader transfer of this disease to humans. And rat and squirrel infestations can also lead to human’s getting the rare disease leptospirosis and broader exposure to the bubonic plague. Russia closed its border with Mongolia a couple weeks ago due to this same issue. In 1924, a prior bout of bubonic plaque occurred in LA which led to the death of nearly 40 people in only 48 hours. Similar outbreaks since, in China and India, have led to the death of millions of people.
And public health officials are already seeing themselves having to increase their battles against rat-caused diseases. Rat and squirrel radication programs may be what prevents another outbreak but what firms should be looking at instead is how tech-driven innovation programs could more proactively identify the rising conditions, proactively protect society and help citizens and healthcare firms to properly diagnose and treat these and other diseases as they rise. Another good focus would be on how tech-driven solutions could help prevent the rise of the preliminary conditions, such as pulling back the temperature rises, preventing the disease arisal and more.
As noted in my next report, coming out later this month on healthcare innovations, every company should be prioritizing innovation efforts that improve the health and lives of their customers and you don’t have to be focused on the healthcare industry to see the opportunities before you or the benefits such efforts can deliver.
Innovation consultants and ecosystem partners CMO Council and BPI Network have been collaborating with a broad set of enterprises and startups to craft tech-driven solutions for these climate change concerns and related emerging customer barriers. Extend your ecosystem via organizations like these to broaden the ideas and opportunities your firm can bring to market.
If your firm is pursuing similar innovation efforts today, please share your story with me and the Forrester Leadership Boards.