Unconventional competitors

carIt is a commonplace topic in innovation: what if (name of a Company that is widely regarded as innovative) starts selling a product or service that is generally regarded as traditional, with well-established brands as market leaders?

Let’s play with a template:

What happens to (your Company) if

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Virgin
  • Apple
  • Tesla
  • Uber

announces its own

  • Bank
  • TV channel
  • car
  • airline
  • phone
  • Insurance company


We’ve seen some of those combinations become real in the recent years, and it is always a good, thought-provoking question, a great starting point for brainstorming, a reliable source of ideas for innovation-oriented analyses… a template for attention-catching titles.

However, nothing prevents traditional companies from becoming an unconventional competitor in some other industry. I recently ran into a brilliant example: UBS launched their digital safe service. All digital communications to customers will be saved there by the Bank, but customers will be also able to use the personal storage space to save their own important files: certificates, documents, receipts, invoices, all tax and bureaucracy-related stuff, in a safe (Swiss standards!) storage space. It definitely sounds like a high-quality solution, and it might well take away one reason to pay a fee for other online backup solutions. At least, in my case it did… so, who is the unconventional competitor in this case?


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